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Announcements in Māori to welcome international arrivals at Auckland Airport

In a first, Auckland Airport is playing Māori language announcements at its international and domestic terminals. Arrivals are being greeted in Māori and messages explaining the significance of Matariki (also in English) are being played out on the PA systems. The initiative is a part of the airport's Matariki celebration.

"The first thing travellers will hear when they land on Kiwi soil and disembark the plane, will be te reo Māori," Auckland Airport chief executive Carrie Hurihanga says.

Auckland Airport chief operations officer Chloe Surridge says there are four recordings, two each at the international and domestic terminals that will be playing out every other hour. The messages are voiced by two employees of Auckland Airport and two Auckland schoolchildren.

Fifteen-year-old Psalm-Āwhina Māhanga is one of the voices behind the recordings. She says when she first heard of this through her school, she saw it as an opportunity and grabbed it.

'Mum was definitely excited,' says Psalm-Āwhina Māhanga of Manurewa High School on hearing that her voice would greet passengers at Auckland Airport

"Being one of the few rangatahi to have my voice being played here is definitely an achievement for me, especially at my age," she says.

Some 50,000 people will hear the messages over the PA system on Matariki Day. "I am very excited, but also a little nervous," Māhanga says.

The messages will play only on Matariki Day but there are plans to increase the use of the Māori language at Auckland Airport in the future.