Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

University of Auckland launches te reo Maori app to support language revitalisation

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The app follows the April release of Te taonga nō tua whakarere, he taonga mō āpōpō A treasure from ancient times, and for tomorrow: The University of Auckland Language Plan for the Revitalisation of Te Reo Māori 2020-2025. Its goals are to protect and promote te reo Māori and to demonstrate the University’s commitment to the value of te reo and its role in preserving this taonga for current and future generations.

Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori Professor Cindy Kiro said that both the plan and the app are integral to putting into practice one of the key aspirations of the University’s strategic plan - to benefit Māori and the University through partnerships that acknowledge the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

"Te Kūaha makes the crucial link between language and culture, with content covering te reo Māori pronunciation and expressions, tikanga Māori, and the history and values of the tertiary institution.

"It has been developed collaboratively with staff and students who were engaged in developing the concept, sourcing materials, contributing voiceover and providing feedback," she said.

The University of Auckland recognises te reo Māori as the foundation of Māori culture and identity, and that it has a role to play in preserving and protecting the language and culture. It is committed to doing so in partnership with iwi Māori and the community.

"Despite te reo Māori being one of three official languages in Aotearoa New Zealand it remains endangered," said Professor Kiro. "Our intention is to support its revitalisation as a living language that can be used by all New Zealanders. This supports the Crown’s aim of having one million New Zealanders able to speak basic te reo Māori by 2040.

"We aim to raise the status of the language, promote learning of te reo and tikanga Māori and encourage its use by creating opportunities for the language to be seen and heard every day at the University."

Professor Kiro said that among other things this would include bilingual signage and symbols of tikanga Māori, such as the Pou adorning the entrance to the new Engineering Building, Te Herenga Mātai Pūkaha.

The University Language Revitalisation plan has three aspirational goals:

By 2024, all existing staff will have participated in professional development for te reo Māori learning and all new staff will be offered a course

By 2025, all students will have the option of a te reo Māori course in their programme of study

By 2040, 50% of staff will have the ability and confidence to demonstrate a basic level of competency in te reo Māori

The Te Kūaha app is a digital cultural competency guide that has been designed to provide staff and students the opportunity to learn about te reo Māori and tikanga Māori in their day-to-day lives and at their own pace. Interactive features include: pronunciation of Māori words including local geographic features of significance to the University, maps with marae names, tikanga (protocols), mihi/pepeha (introductions), ngā mihi (greetings), karakia (invocations), and waiata (songs).

The app is accessible on Apple, Android and Windows devices and has been shared with all staff and students.

Te Kūaha has been five months in development. Kaiarataki Michael Steedman, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori, is just one of the people who has been thinking about it for some time.

"It made sense for the app to be implemented under the commitments within the new Language Plan," he said

"Te Mātanga Reo, the University Māori Language Advisory Committee, provided content expertise for the customisation of the app and the University’s commercialisation arm UniServices funded the purchase.

"The content is customised for relevance to the University of Auckland such as greetings for teaching staff to students, and academics introducing themselves or responding to greetings when in a meeting or conference.

"Staff new to Aotearoa New Zealand will find it useful as they come to grips with te reo Māori pronunciation and tikanga, particularly marae and pōwhiri protocol. It will also assist researchers at the University for its content about the tribes, tribal authorities and marae of the Auckland, Waikato and Te Tai Tokerau regions."

Professor Kiro acknowledges the Plan, the app, and other channels being developed are the result of efforts by many Māori staff and students.

"For many years they have been working in education, history, languages, science, law and other disciplines and we are building on the groundwork. We are privileged to have their energy and expertise in te reo and te Aō Māori."

All articles and comments on have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.