Vodafone CEO Jason Paris delivered had a hilarious response to a disgruntled customer who complained about the company's use of te reo Māori in its communications.
The customer, Catherine Beuning, contacted the Herald in an attempt to bring to attention to what she referred to as a "flippant reply" from the Vodafone CEO.
She went on to share the full letter she sent to Paris with the Herald, in which she took particular exception to Vodafone's use of "Aotearoa" in its communications with customers.
"I'd like to point out that we live in New Zealand, NOT Aotearoa, and will remain so until there's a referendum to change that name," Beuning says.
"We also speak English, NOT Maori. Remember that English is the language of the World today NOT Maori [sic]".
She then whipped out the classic cliche of saying she has Māori family members, which is the general go-to statement people say to justify their racist views and beliefs.
"And before you think that I'm a redneck Pakeha, my daughter in-law is Maori and their three daughters therefore are part Maori. They too tell me that this WOKENESS has gone too far even for them [sic]."
To the surprise of many, it turns out that speaking the indigenous language of Aotearoa is considered woke? Tell that to our tupuna who had their own language and culture beaten out of them.
Too far? Hei aha...
Beuning then goes on to say that she would be leaving Vodafone to join Spark, but she was going down swinging!
"Mr Paris, I heard on the radio that about two hundred staff at Vodafone are losing their jobs, is this because Vodafone are losing customers due the WOKENESS that you and your company are foisting upon the customers and the rest of NEW ZEALAND. [sic]"
Instead of trading shots with this poor misguided soul, Paris simply released a three word statement to the customer:
"Haere rā Catherine."
A Vodafone spokesman said Paris valued good debate but did not believe further engagement would drive the discussion forward in this case.
"Jason regularly receives correspondence from our customers on a wide range of matters, including correspondence about our commitment to te ao Māori," the spokesman said.
"He frequently engages in good discussion or debate with customers, either via email or on social media, however in this particular instance, given the aggressive nature and tone of the correspondence, felt it would be counter-productive to engage any further."
Ka pai Jason, ka pai...