App boost for te reo Maori

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By RHI­AN­NON McCON­NELL

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.

Photo: RHI­AN­NON McCON­NELL

First go: Amaia Solomon, 4, was one of the first to try the new app.

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