Two Hawke's Bay te reo Māori advocates say the name of Burger Fuel's new Hoki Dokey burger is "bastardising" the language by promoting the fish's continued mispronunciation in New Zealand.
Shona West and Kaye Waapu told Hawke's Bay Today that the marketing of the word hoki with the word dokey means people will be more inclined to mispronounce the word as hoe-key, rather than the correct haw-key.
West is a member of the Hawke's Bay secondary school Māori teachers association, a representative on the NZPPTA Māori executive, a board member for Te Kura Kaupapa Maori and a trustee at Te Aranga Marae in Flaxmere, while Waapu said she was an active advocate for the te reo Māori language. Both are fluent in te reo.
Waapu, who spotted an advertisement for the Hoki Dokey on Facebook, said it was an "irresponsible" name for a burger.
"As Māori when we hear names being pronounced incorrectly it actually hurts," she said.
"It's our language, it's our taonga."
West described the Hoki Dokey burger name as a "bastardisation" of the language.
"You just cannot do that in this day and age in our country," West said.
"When the Government is trying to get it right with Māori, you'd think a big company like that would be up to date with what is happening in Aotearoa."
The outcry follow a similar one last week that forced Wattie's to pull one of its major advertising campaigns which spelled place names like Paihia as Piehia and Whitianga as Frittianga.
A Burger Fuel spokesman told the Hawke's Bay Today the burger's name was not "intended to offend anyone or support incorrect pronunciation".
"We like the way the language is weaved into everyday life in New Zealand - even though some of us may need to try harder than others to get the pronunciation correct!
"We think this, along with fish and chips (or fush and chups for some), are part of being Kiwi.
"We appreciate the insight and point of view that some of our customers have given us and want to continue using Māori names rather than having to refer to NZ fish species," the spokesman said.
Staff had received memos around the correct pronunciation of hoki, the Burger Fuel spokesman said.
"Thanks to feedback and suggestions from our customers we now have some new expert contacts that we can approach for future campaigns."
Burger Fuel told Waapu, in correspondence seen by Hawke's Bay Today, that the chain had previously received flack for their "Fush & Chips" branding and "Fricken Roast" burger.
Waapu said she was disappointed Burger Fuel had not apologised, and the pair said they would be happy to help rename the burger.
The word hoki means "to return" in te reo Māori, they said.
"All they need to do is say they've stuffed up, apologise, and ask what they can do to fix it," West said.