Air New Zealand wishes passengers a ‘Mirry Christmus’

Air New Zealand has launched a Christmas campaign with a difference with a self-referential campaign poking fun at the distinctive Kiwi accent.

The light-hearted push sees a confused Santa receiving Christmas orders from children around New Zealand but struggling to interpret their heavily accented dialects – resulting in a succession of humorous misunderstandings.

A Very Merry Mistake sees a bungling Santa attempt to stash biscuitballs (basketballs), puggy banks (piggy banks) and bug screen TVs (big screen TVs) only to be saved by his own band of helpers in the form of Air New Zealand cabin, who step up to the plate with their own translation service.

Brushing up his pronunciation skills Air New Zealand chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod said: “While it’s no secret the Kiwi accent has been misunderstood at times, it’s also a signature part of our service. In fact, for many Kiwis, being welcomed onboard an Air New Zealand flight by crew after being offshore for some time makes them feel instantly back at home.”

Miriam Meyerhoff, professor of linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington, added: "New Zealand English has had 150 years to go native. In that time, the short vowels have wandered and that’s what makes it sound so distinctive – as the flight attendant in the video explains. It’s great to see Kiwis owning this distinctiveness and embracing it for comic effect.”

Air New Zealand famously recruited the cast of the Hobbit to produce the most 'epic' in-flight safety video ever made.

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