Te Reo Māori a taonga at Four Square Tokomaru Bay

In the lead-up to Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Māori Language Week, from 11 to 17 September, Four Square is embracing this important kaupapa and encouraging New Zealanders to have a go at speaking te reo. We chat with the team at Four Square Tokomaru Bay in Gisborne, about how they’re keeping te teo alive instore and in their community.

At Four Sqaure Tokomaru Bay, the team embraces te reo Māori as a part of their korero every day of the year.

“As part of the biggest te reo Māori speaking region in the country, Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is an important kaupapa for our community, and our team at Four Square Tokomaru Bay is supporting and encouraging customers to speak te reo whenever the opportunity presents itself,” says store owner Mike Turney.

“Te reo Māori is a huge part of the community’s identity and culture,” Mike says.

“It’s important that when anyone comes into the store, it feels like theirs and they know te reo is part of the store’s culture.”

From the signage on the aisles in store, to their team values, and Facebook posts, te reo Māori is woven into every aspect of Four Square Tokomaru Bay.


Mike Turney head shot - 4SQ Tokomaru Bay

Mike Turney, owner Four Square Tokomaru Bay


Iwiata, a loyal customer at Four Square Tokomaru Bay, says te reo Māori is a taonga.

“The language is a treasure that should be used, otherwise it will diminish and be lost,” she says.

“We use it here in the store and on the streets in Tokomaru.”

Mike encourages his team members to greet customers in Māori and use it in their interactions whenever they can.

“When we speak te reo, we’re connecting with our customers and community which is what we’re all about,” Mike says.    

“We’re a little bit different in that Māori language week is every week in our store.”



As part of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Mike and his team are encouraging customers to try out Four Square’s Rārangi Kai shopping list translator a webtool which translates shopping list items into te reo Māori.

“We’re excited for the launch and we’ve been having a lot of fun with the [Four Square] Rārangi Kai shopping list translator, with our customers and team,” Mike says.

“It’s a fun and useful way to learn te reo Māori while you shop in store.”


Rārangi Kai webtool


To use the webtool, head to the Rārangi Kai shopping list translator, click the ‘+’ icon at the bottom of the page, select your shopping list items, and then select the tick to translate the items into te reo Māori. Rārangi Kai is available to use throughout the year, not just during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori. It features audio to help with pronunciation, and you can even tick your shopping list items off as you do your shop, and translate them back to English if you’ve forgotton a word.


Mere shoppper

Loyal customer, Mere, uses the Four Square Rārangi Kai shopping list translator during her weekly shop


Mike has been brushing up on his te reo Māori since recently taking the reins of the store and learning various phrases and words to sprinkle into conversation. Rārangi Kai means ‘menu’.


“We’re all on a journey when it comes to learning te reo but we encourage and help each other out,” he says.

A wide range of te reo Māori speakers work at Four Square Tokomaru Bay, from beginners such as Mike, to one of his team members, Supermarket Assistant Iwiata, who is fluent. Iwiata attends the local high school and works at the store part-time, enjoying the opportunity to teach her team mates and chat fluently with many of their customers.



Iwiata, Supermarket Assistant Four Square Tokomaru Bay


“Tokomaru Bay is a very beautiful place,” Iwiata says. The best thing about it is the people, we look out for each other like family, and we can speak every day.

“We greet our customers who come into the store in te reo Māori, and we chat about all sorts. I encourage them to speak te reo whenever I can.”



Susie, Supermarket Assistant Four Square Tokomaru Bay


Supermarket Assistant Susie greets everyone with a friendly kia ora, and is enjoying the opportunity to learn more.

“I enjoy talking to the tamariki that come into the shop and they teach me,” Susie says.

“As a learner, what better place to further my te reo Māori than here at Four Square Tokomaru Bay.”

 “We’re proud of the language, and where it comes from, and it’s great to be able to korero and share our enthusiasm for it within our team and our community,” Mike says.