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University Union operations manager Martin Jones was presented with a special He Toki award yesterday for work introducing bilingual signage in seven of the nine cafes he oversees for the university.
The award was presented by the university's office of Maori development, in collaboration with Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu and the iwi's Christchurch-based language team Kotahi Mano Kaika, as part of Maori Language Week.
It was one of a series of events held at the university to celebrate the week.
Mr Jones said it was ''wonderful'' to be recognised for the work, which started two or three years ago, and he saw it as a foundation to introduce more Maori signage.
''We are very proud of the efforts we are making here at the university.''
Some drinks with Maori translations could be guessed, such as kapu-tino and moka-tino, but others such as kapu ti kawe (cup of tea takeaway) were not necessarily obvious.
Kotahi Mano Kaika member Victoria Campbell said it was encouraging to see Maori words being put before the English ones and it sent a ''really strong message''.
Maori students' association Te Roopu Maori also organised events on the Union Lawn including weaving lessons and a barbecue where people had to say their mihi in order to receive free food.
First-year student and Te Roopu member Zay'yen Benson-Brown said students' feedback had been positive.
''They are pretty accepting. They are probably hungry so they don't mind.''
The number of Maori students enrolled at the University of Otago is due to hit 2000 this year - about 12% - as the university moves closer to its goal of population parity with its enrolments.
Placing an order - Maori cafe phrases
He kawhe, he hapu ti ranei mahau?: Would you like a coffee or tea?
He . . .mahaku: I’ll have a . . .please
Paku-uri: Short black
Honu-uri: Long black
Mowai: Flat white
Ratei tiai: Chai latte
Kapu ti kawe: Cup of tea, takeaway
Tipata taikitahi: Tea for one
Tipata takirua: Tea for two
Remana, kopi me te miere wera: Hot lemon, ginger and honey
Tohi tihi: Toasted sandwiches Ka kawea
Kia ora: To go, thank you
Kia hia ka huka mahau?: How many sugars would you like?