Payment in Maori

School principal Patrick Tangaere recently wrote a cheque as payment to a McDonalds in Gisborne, New Zealand. What’s special about that, I hear you cry. Well, the cheque was written in te reo Maori, and was queried by restaurant manager Leah Hepi.

Mr Tangaere’s argument was that Maori is an official language of New Zealand, and as such, cheques written in Maori should be accepted as legal tender.

Ms Hepi’s response was that she had never come across a cheque written in Maori before, so had it authenticated by the bank over the phone.

Read the whole story here.

Whilst I can see both sides of the story here, it does raise a few issues. (Aside from the school principal taking pupils to eat at McDonalds on a school trip)

As Maori is a national language, and whilst cheques are still legal tender, all retailers must be made aware that they may come across tender in Maori as well as English. However, as cheques are no longer a regular form of payment, could the issue have been avoided altogether?