Te Tai – Treaty Settlement Stories

Story: Te Mana o te Reo Māori

Dame Naida Glavish

The ‘kia ora lady’.

Dame Rangimārie Naida Glavish of Ngāti Whātua was a telephone exchange operator who in 1984 brought the status of the Māori language to public attention simply by greeting people placing long-distance calls with ‘kia ora’.

Told to use only English by her supervisor or lose her job, she refused to back down. She won widespread public support for her courageous stand, which led to a new willingness to use the Māori language in the public domain.

After several decades of advocacy for Māori in the health and justice fields, she was appointed an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2011 for services to Māori and the community. In 2018 she was promoted to Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Naida Glavish is Chair of Te Runanga o Ngāti Whātua and was President of the Māori Party from 2013 to 2016.