Mana whenua and Wellington City Council launch reo Māori app

By Will Trafford

Mana whenua and the Wellington City Council have joined forces for a new Māori language app, which the consortium says it hopes will enhance the uptake of te reo in the region.

The app called ‘Mahau’ was created by Taranaki Whānui, Ngāti Toa and Wellington City Council and helps with kupu and pronunciation of landmarks and locations in the capital.

The app can also teach pepeha and mihimihi, as well as local dialects. 

Karepa Wall, Tātai Heke Māori for Wellington City Council says the app is a logical progression amid a year of historic milestones for te reo in the rohe, and te ao Māori across the motu.

“It’s been a remarkable year with the first Matariki public holiday happening in Aotearoa, the council’s formalising of a partnership with mana whenua through Tākai Here, a new Māori Language Festival Te Hui Ahurei Reo Māori o Te Whanganui-a-Tara - as part of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, and celebrations for Te Petihana Reo Māori, the 50th anniversary of the Māori language petition being delivered to Parliament."

Wall says the Mahau app is part of a broader council strategy to have the whole of Wellington bilingual by 2040, to coincide with 200 years of the Treaty of Waitangi.

“This is a continuation on the strong foundations laid by Te Tauihu o Te Reo Māori, the Māori Language policy created to celebrate te reo Māori and support the revitalisation of the language within Council activities and Wellington City”

Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika chief executive Tutu Whakarae praised the app for lowering the barrier to entry for beginning reo Māori learners.

“It might be that you are looking for a place name within Wellington City, or the correct pronunciation of a word to give confidence to its use. Either way, Mahau is a useful tool for anyone to use.”

“The written and oral functions give the user a sense of confidence,” she said.

The Mahau app is available now on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Public Interest Journalism, funded through NZ On Air