Revolutionary augmented reality te reo Māori resource launched

By Te Ao - Māori News

A new project being launched in the Manawatū will give students a very modern portal to some very ancient tales.

Manawatū is an augmented reality graphic novel resource, developed as part of a $1.91 million, four-year programme by the Ministry of Education to improve access to and accelerate the development and delivery of quality te reo Māori localised curriculum resources.

Tātai Angitu, the education sector professional learning and development team from Massey University, worked with author and Rangitāne descendent Pere Durie and design company Māui Studios to complete the project.

The cutting edge use of augmented reality means that although the focus of Manawatū was as a resource for kura Māori and Māori medium schools, the Ministry of Education have also commissioned an English version to be rolled out to mainstream schools as well.

Tātai Angitu Kaihautū Mātauranga Māori and project manager Tama Kirikiri (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Konohi, Ngāti Rākaipaaka, Ngāti Kahungunu, Kāi Tahu) says it's a real first to see a resource developed in te reo Māori and then translated to English and for a Māori medium resource being made specifically available into mainstream schools.

"Kaiako Māori are most often in the position of having to translate English resources into te reo Māori to use with their ākonga.” he said.

“To be part of this ground breaking project, creating a first of its kind resource for both Māori medium kura and English medium schools is really exciting. Gen Z tamariki in kura today are part of the Youtube and Google generation where digital technology is integrated in their everyday lives. Utilising augmented reality and a high quality graphic novel to engage tamariki in this kōrero will speak directly to them and will certainly inspire them as the creators of tomorrow'.   

The full project team also includes the head of Massey's Te Pūtahi-a-Toi, School of Māori Knowledge, Professor Meihana Durie, and Pūkenga Matua Hone Morris, who ensured the quality of the te reo Māori and the Rangitāne mita (dialect) is consistent throughout.

Professor Durie says Kura Kaupapa Māori in particular, have found it difficult to source high quality resources for their students and this project is important. 

"It is critical to nourish the creative spirit and imaginations of our tamariki and mokopuna, irrespective of which school they attend, or which language is their first. We also understand, there is an increasing need across Kura Kaupapa Māori to supplement teaching and learning activities with resources from the iwi and about the iwi. The people of Rangitāne acknowledge the support of Tātai Angitū and Ministry of Education, particularly for the opportunity to have commenced this project right here at Rangiotū."