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Good morning, g'day, kia ora, how are you?

Writing good morning at the start of emails seems a good idea. The words sound friendly and upbeat.

It’s not as good as kia ora.

You don’t know for sure when your message will arrive at the other end. Nor do you know when the reader opens it. There's a good chance it won't be in the morning.

At best good morning when it isn't morning doesn’t make sense. At worst, it looks rude. It says the writer hasn’t thought about the person at the other end.

This matters if you are in business. An out-of-place good morning might be read as “I’m happy to take your money, but I’m too lazy to think about how you might read my email”.

Writers have no control over when people read their emails, so it is best not to start communications that way even when you’re in the same time zone as the reader. And if you are not in the same time zone, it only serves to underline the fact.


Good morning makes an assumption. If it’s the wrong assumption it can come across as arrogant.

If you want to seem polite or friendly, just start the email with hi or hello followed by the person’s name.

Use the first name if you know them. Use the first and second name if you don’t or if you are uncertain.

Nothing signals the person at the other end is not paying attention more than getting this wrong. If I get an email that starts “Hello Bennett”, I know something odd is going on.

Kia ora

New Zealanders have two better options.

Kia ora is a Māori language – we call it te reo – phrase everyone should know. Strictly speaking it means “good health” but it is widely used as an alternative to “hi”. Kia ora is a great way to start an email.

The other possibility is g’day – a term we share with Australia. It’s a little old-fashioned these days, but serviceable.

Hi, kia ora and g’day have the advantage of working at any time of the day or night. They don’t make presumptions about what is going on at the other end of the communication.

Both will set you apart from locals when you communicate with people in other parts of the world. It is is the best ice-breaker.