'Kupu' app gets star treatment to tell stories about Matariki

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

Kupu, Spark’s te reo Māori translation app, has got a refresh just in time for Matariki.

The app, which launched back in 2018, translates the world around into te reo Māori with a photo. This year, it reveals nine Matariki stars in objects found at home, the backyard or neighbourhood.

This is the latest Matariki initiative from Spark, supported by eminent Māori astronomer Dr Rangi Mātāmua (Tūhoe) and is designed to help New Zealanders better understand the intrinsic connection between Māori astronomy and the physical world.

During July, people can find Matariki stars hiding in plain sight by taking a single photo with Kupu. Once a star is found, audio of its origin story can be played in either te reo Māori or English.

It’s a clever marriage between previous campaigns, Kupu, the te reo Māori translation app, and 0800 Matariki, a suite of nine audio stories – one for each star in the cluster – rich in folklore and voiced by prominent Māori orators Stacey & Scotty Morrison, and educator Rhonda Tibble.

Spark Māori development lead Riki Hollings (Ngāti Ranginui) says, “We’re honoured to bring these nine Matariki stories to life in a new way by uniting them with Kupu this year. By utilising photo recognition technology anyone with the Kupu app can learn more about Matariki in the world around them. Taking everyday objects and connecting them with the origins of Matariki is hopefully going to be a special learning experience for many Kiwis.

“We see Māori culture as unique to us and something we want to celebrate and share as a New Zealand business. It is humbling to have the opportunity to work with Dr Mātāmua on this campaign — to ensure we’re guided in the right direction in this space and so our tamariki are learning the stories that were passed down through generations.”

Kupu was launched in 2018 to make it easier for New Zealanders to learn a little te reo Māori every day. 

Read more: