11 Sep 2012

Kia Ora wanted as national greeting

6:31 am on 11 September 2012

Maori Tourism officials want 'Kia Ora' to become New Zealand's national greeting.

They say it's a warm and friendly welcome to international visitors - and makes New Zealand unique to the rest of the world.

Maori Tourism executive Butch Bradley says he's asking councils to push the 'kia ora' greeting.

He says everyone says 'aloha' in Hawaii - which is a great marketing experience for the state.

Mr Bradley says New Zealanders will say 'bula' in Fiji, but when they return home they don't say 'kia ora', and he thinks that is nuts.

He says it's natural that people will continue to say "hi" and "hello", but says 'kia ora' is a phrase that denotes the personality of New Zealand and its people.

He says the kia ora "brand" is spreading, and notes the New Zealand Olympic team had "kia ora" splashed across their sports shirts.