Pipi Mā to hit the big screen

updated By Jessica Tyson

The world’s first Māori speaking dolls, Pipi Mā, is set to hit the big screen in a new cartoon on Wednesday 18th of April.

Hundreds of preschoolers are expected to flock with their families to Hoyts Sylvia Park to watch the free premiere that has already sold-out.

Pipi Mā are famous for becoming the world’s first 100 percent Māori speaking dolls and were launched by creators Kristin Ross and Hōhepa Tuahine’s in 2016. 

They decided to create the cartoon after watching Disney’s film Moana, which made headlines for being the first Disney movie to be reversioned in 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 Hinehui Tuahine as Pipi, Tamatea Te Moni as Hura, Atareta Milne as Tītoki and Niwai Hiini as Pītau Pōtiki.

Pipi Mā teaches tamariki about behaviour, tikanga and values from an authentic Māori perspective and draws on traditional narratives.

There are also segments that focus on teaching numeracy and literacy skills.

Ross and Tuahine have been finalists and winners for numerous awards including the Rotorua Westpac Business Awards, the Best Design Awards and the New Zealand Innovation Awards.

“Pipi Mā dolls have found themselves in homes all over New Zealand, and in fact, all over the world, in places as far-reaching as Qatar,” says Ross.

“For those children to now have the opportunity to see their favourite Pipi Mā doll on the big screen in one of Auckland’s biggest cinemas affirms their relevance and place in the world.  It tells them that the Māori language is cool and is deserving of the big screen”.