'Balls up' of Te Reo Māori translation leads to sniggering at Bay of Islands’ new airport

A sign at the new Bay of Islands Airport will be changed after it was pointed out that it has a rather lewd double meaning.

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The sign was meant to read “baggage claim”. Source: 1 NEWS

The sign, at the airport's baggage claim area, reads "pēke kokoraho" - pēke meaning bag, and kokoraho generally interpreted as taking ownership of something, or claiming it.

However, Government Minister Shane Jones says he was amused to see the sign, because "kokoraho" also has an archaic usage - meaning to "scoop up your private parts - a male being the owner of those private parts", he said.

Māori translator Tane Karamaina said while the term is not used for that meaning very commonly these days, it was the equivalent of a Shakespearean word being dropped into modern English - "you either know it or you don't".

In a statement, the airport jokingly acknowledged the "abject balls up" and said "we'll be putting it right as soon as we can".

They said they had consulted with tangata whenua over the translations, but obviously had not been as thorough as was necessary.

Another translation for a baggage claim might be "wahi tiki pēke" - a place to take, or fetch, a bag.