Google Maps learns Ma¯ori

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - HAR­RI­SON CHRIS­TIAN

Google Maps prom­ises it will start pro­nounc­ing Ma¯ori place names cor­rectly by the end of the year and the tech gi­ant wants the public’s help.

An on­line plat­form called Say It Tika, de­vel­oped by Google and Voda­fone, in­vites the public to drop pins on an in­ter­ac­tive map of New Zealand to point out the places that need lin­guis­tic at­ten­tion. It was launched ahead of Te Wiki O Te Reo Ma¯ori ( Ma¯ori Lan­guage Week).

The cam­paign has been fronted by kiwi ac­tor and te reo Ma¯ori ad­vo­cate Te­muera Mor­ri­son.

Say It Tika will cre­ate a pri­or­ity list that will be sent to Google, and Ma¯ori lin­guists from Te Taura Whiri i te reo Ma¯ori (the Ma¯ori Lan­guage Com­mis­sion) will ap­ply the cor­rect macrons and pho­net­ics. The Google Maps voice will then be re­pro­grammed.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Ma¯ori (The Ma¯ori Lan­guage Com­mis­sion) Ngahiwi Apanui said the Say It Tika cam­paign would help in­crease the preva­lence of te reo Ma¯ori.

‘‘Our vi­sion is to have te reo Ma¯ori res­onate through­out the en­tire coun­try,’’ Apanui said. ‘‘We want to see and hear te reo Ma¯ori ev­ery­where - on the streets, in shops, in schools, on ra­dio, on TV and on­line.’’

Voda­fone NZ con­sumer di­rec­tor Matt Wil­liams said ‘‘sup­port­ing Google to im­prove pro­nun­ci­a­tion in Aotearoa is an im­por­tant way we can play a part in pre­serv­ing the taonga (trea­sure) that te reo Ma¯ori is’’.

‘‘Our vi­sion is to have te reo Ma¯ori res­onate through­out the en­tire coun­try.’’


Google wants the public’s help to de­ter­mine which place names are be­ing mis­pro­nounced by the app’s au­to­mated voice.

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