App boost for te reo Maori
A first of its kind mobile application will teach New Zealand children te reo Maori while they have fun.
Launched earlier this month to children at Ngati Toa Puna Reo, Whiri Atu Whiri Mai is a collaboration between the iwi and Whitireia Polytechnic.
The application was the brainchild of bachelor of information technology second- year student, Gina Solomon, who has Ngati Toa affiliation.
‘‘I was trying to find something for my niece and nephew in Australia.
‘‘I was looking for an app to teach them te reo and I couldn’t find one,’’ she said.
Solomon began working on the application with three third-year students, who used it as their final project.
The application will initially only be available on the iwi website. It will then be released on the app store for free.
‘‘It’s going to help a lot of people. There are adults who want it, too,’’ Solomon said.
One of the developers was thirdyear student George Parata, who said he jumped at the chance to help his iwi when Solomon approached him about the idea.
‘‘It’s the first app of its kind. There’s no other app like it out there.
‘‘It’s something I can do for my people. I’m helping educate our young people,’’ he said.
He said he and co-developers Ryan O’Farrell and Victoria Hobbs would like to take the idea further with more development.
The application is part of an iwi drive for the revitalisation of te reo Maori for Ngati Toa. It works on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and teaches simple Maori names, colours and numbers in a fun way, and has development potential for all newcomers to te reo Maori.
First go: Amaia Solomon, 4, was one of the first to try the new app.