Saying goodbye to Rangatira – Kokako Organic Coffee Roasters

Saying goodbye to Rangatira

As of the end of this month we are saying goodbye to our long-standing blend — Rangatira. This was not a decision made in haste; after careful consideration this call was based on a number of important factors. The first (and most important) being that we recently received some feedback from a te reo Māori advocate about the use of the name Rangatira on a food product. 

Rangatira means chief in te reo Māori, as well as high ranking or esteemed, and associating something that is extremely tapu (like the position held by a chief) with something that is considered noa (food) is very offensive and disrespectful to the very culture we want to celebrate.

This was the first time we've received feedback of this nature and we immediately embarked on a journey to change the name of the blend to respect tangata whenua. The journey sparked a review of all our coffee offerings and it led us to the decision to discontinue supplying the blend to both wholesale and retail customers. 

If you aren't familiar with tapu and noa and would like to know more, you can find information about it here. We believe this decision will enable Kōkako to continue to innovate in specialty coffee as we start work on a seasonal espresso blend for the future. With the help of a team of Māori advisors we hope to find a suitable name for this new coffee that continues to normalise and celebrate our national language.

Our team would like to say a huge thank you to all the kaiwhakamāori (Māori translators) who have helped us on this journey so far and to Teresa, an incredible te reo Māori advocate, who called us about the name in the first place. Ngā mihi ki a koutou.