Crowds attend Pipi Mā cartoon premiere

By Jessica Tyson

Young children and parents flocked to Sylvia Park cinemas today to watch the premiere of the new Pipi Mā cartoon series.

Pipi Mā are the world's first Māori-speaking dolls and were launched in 2016.

Parents, like Stephanie Fong, were delighted to be able to bring their kōhungahunga along to hear te reo Māori at the movies.

“I won't say my age, but it's been a long time coming to be able to do this- to come to a movie theatre and hear te reo Māori in its natural state, in a Māori setting,” she told a Te Kāea reporter at the premiere today.

Creators Kristin Ross and Hōhepa Tuahine made the cartoon after watching Moana, the first Disney movie to be reversioned into te reo Māori.

“We saw and heard the reactions of the children at the premiere for the Māori language version of Disney’s Moana and thought we need to create this same effect with Pipi Mā,” says Tuahine.

The cartoon features the voices of tamariki including their seven-year-old daughter Hinehui Tuahine as Pipi, Tamatea Te Moni as Hura, Atareta Milne as Tītoki and Niwai Hiini as Pītau Pōtiki.

It also teaches tamariki about behaviour, tikanga and values and includes segments that focus on teaching numeracy and literacy skills.

Reporter Taroi Black will have more on this story tonight on Te Kāea.