Google Maps learns Ma¯ori
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.