Kiwis pledge to buy Whittaker's to annoy people angered by Te Reo rebranding

Kiwis are pledging to buy large amounts of Whittaker's chocolate to annoy people who are criticising the company for celebrating Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.

Whittaker's revealed on Tuesday it would be introducing special edition packaging for one of its most popular chocolates to celebrate Māori language week.

The chocolate getting a rebrand is Miraka Kirīmi (Creamy Milk) - which has had its label translated into te reo for Māori language week since 2020 but was only available through special giveaways. 

Co-chief operating officer Matt Whittaker said as a New Zealand family-owned business the company is proud to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.

“We are delighted to extend our celebration this year by making our limited edition Miraka Kirīmi label more widely available, as well as through a number of other staff initiatives,” Whittaker said. 

The Miraka Kirīmi blocks will be available in stores nationwide from Monday, August 22 for a limited time. 

Whittaker said they're proud to take part in the celebration, which is helping to revitalise te Reo Māori. 

"We hope that Whittaker’s Chocolate Lovers will enjoy sharing a block of Miraka Kirīmi with their friends and whānau," he said.  

The venture has support from the Māori Language Commission, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, which helped translate the labels. 

But it seems a few social media users didn't approve with notorious right-wing blogger Cameron Slater tweeting, "Go woke, go broke... see ya @WhittakersNZ," alongside a picture of the rebranded labelling. 

Slater is best known as the man behind the controversial muckraking blog Whale Oil, whose communications with former National Party leader Judith Collins and former Prime Minister John Key made up a significant chunk of Nicky Hager's 2014 book Dirty Politics.

And it seems Kiwis disagree with Slater, whose tweet prompted scores of people to pledge their support for the special edition chocolate. 

"Imagine being so racist that you're triggered by a chocolate block. Time to go and buy a whole lot of Whittakers," one person tweeted alongside the hashtag 'buywhittakers'. 

They weren't alone, with another adding: "Almost never buy chocolate, it's a luxury my wallet and waistline can both do without, but I bought 4 large Whittakers blocks this afternoon. Tonight we party."

A tweet in support of the rebrand.
A tweet in support of the rebrand. Photo credit: Twitter

"I am buying a case of Whittakers as soon as I finish this tweet," another said. 

"Thanks for the reminder that I need to buy more Whittakers! Unbelievable the number of racist a**hats losing their minds over a Kiwi company using one of the official languages of Aotearoa on their packaging," another social media user commented. 

"Awesome to see Whittakers doing Te Reo. Official language of Aotearoa New Zealand and a beautiful language," one person said in response to Slater's tweet. 

Meanwhile, others suggested Slater had unwittingly helped the chocolate company make sales with his tweet. 

A tweet in support of the rebrand.
A tweet in support of the rebrand. Photo credit: Twitter

"I fully expect Whittakers sales to go through the roof now. Why pay Nigella [Lawson] big bucks when you can just piss off Cam Slater for instant near-universal approval?" one person questioned. 

"How to push Whittakers sales up. Gonna go looking for this now!" another said. 

"Off to drop off the kids to school and going to exercise my political and consumer rights by buying some Whittakers, hopefully I can find the Te Reo block... voting with my money for the kind of world I want," another added. 

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is celebrated annually from September 13 to 19.