Topic: Te Reo Māori

Te reo Māori served up at McDonalds

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Serving up an order of McDonalds in the Māori language has seen 17-year-old Hastings McDonalds worker Jershon Tatana inspire thousands on the internet to speak te reo Māori. 

When a large group of fluent te reo speakers ordered breakfast in Māori, it came only natural to Jershon to answer back in Māori too.

"I don't think they knew that I was able to speak Māori but that's all good. The main thing is that we're speaking our language so it lives," he says.

A video was uploaded online of him serving in te reo and since then his example has had a major flow-on effect.

"There has been so many people that have followed and are now ordering their food in Māori at different places, even here too. We have people that come through the drive-through ordering in Māori," he says.

"Lots of positive comments from the local community and the staff here are really pleased at what's happened, pleased with Jershon and we just kind of embrace it and whatever comes next comes next," says McDonalds operations manager Carmel Berghan.

He works at the busiest McDonalds in Hawke's Bay with his video catching the attention of head office too.

"They think it's amazing absolutely. They're thrilled for the store and thrilled for the business obviously and thrilled that Jershon was able to help those customers when they came in," says Berghan.

He attended Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Manawatu through primary and intermediate, now attends St Johns and continues to speak Māori at home with his family.