The New Zealand Herald has apologised for declining to publish a death notice in te reo Maori.

Te Atarangi Whiu yesterday told Maori Television she wanted to mark the one year anniversary of her mother's death in a te reo Maori only memorial notice in the newspaper, but it was declined on the grounds it could only be published alongside an English translation, she told the broadcaster.

"I disagreed with that because for my family and me, te reo Maori is our first language. It is also the language of this land. It's a nationally recognised language under New Zealand law," she said.

Her notice was published in the Bay of Plenty Times, also owned by Herald parent company, NZME.


The NZ Herald's general commercial manager for Auckland and Northland, Neil Jackson, today said the decision was a "highly regrettable" result of an outdated policy.

"The New Zealand Herald apologises for any offence caused," he said.

"It is an outdated policy related to languages that are not English, which we are reviewing and will rectify immediately in relation to Te Reo."

Mr Jackson said the Herald had spoken to Whiu and apologised to her personally.

"We recognise and respect Te Reo is the language of our people and the Herald is championing Māori Language Week but we have let ourselves down in this instance."

Mr Jackson had implemented an immediate change to the Herald's advertisement placement policy, which means they will no longer need to be repeated in English if placed in te reo Maori. The company will work with Whiu to rename the new policy after her mother, Te Iria.