Pop Up Project provides a boost to Māori culture in Porirua
27 November 2018
A group of community-minded entrepreneurs are using new technology to promote Māori and Pasifika culture by setting up shop in Porirua.
The Arepa Gamers Club are a group of friends and business people united in their desire to provide a safe space for youngsters to play games, while connecting them with positive values and Māori and Pasifika culture.
The gaming club are in the process of setting up shop in the city, helped by the support they have received through Porirua City Council’s Pop Up Poirua Programme.
The two-year-old initiative helps attract small business owners, artists and community organisations to the city, assisting them with establishing a foothold in Porirua.
Arepa Director Sio Paese said the Porirua-born-and-bred business partners were proud to bring their venture back to their hometown.
“We want to provide opportunities and a platform to people in the Māori and Pasifika communities through gaming.”
“We in the process of developing language training courses that use gaming as a tool to help them learn how to speak their language or learn a new language.
“Our end goal is to run gaming events all around the world where you must speak in another language to be able to play.
“We are also here to challenge the negative stereotypes about gaming and technology by showing how it can have a positive impact on families and communities.”
Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Māori Development, put Arepa in touch with the council, who have made one of its former buildings at 7 Selby Place available to the club to use.
The entrepeneurs return to Porirua comes after they ran a successful city event in September, helping young gamers embrace native language and culture.
The club hosted more than 400 people at their Tākaro 2018 gaming event, organised with help from Ngāti Toa, some of which were focussed around promoting te reo Māori by using te reo Paki, the common language used by Māori gamers.
Common te reo Paki phrases used in gaming are “I wini ahau”, which means “I won”, “ka pai”, which means “this work is good”, or “tākaro anō”, which translates to “play again”.
Another popular phrase used by young Māori gamers is “kaua e mate wheke, okea ururoatia”, which translates to, “don't give up like an octopus does, rather keep going like a hammerhead shark does”.
Porirua City Council Acting General Manager City Growth and Partnerships Darryn Grant, was sure the venture would be a welcome addition to the city’s business and cultural landscape.
“With their strong community focus and the high priority they place on promoting Māori and Pasifika languages, Arepa are fantastic business to relocate to Porirua.
“They played a key role in promoting the language at the Takaro 2018 event during this year’s Māori Language Week, using engaging interactive technology to showcase Māori culture to youngsters.
“Their cultural focus fits perfectly with our strategic priority of celebrating our city’s diversity, while encouraging our young people to help Māori culture grow and thrive into the future.”
Mayor Mike Tana said the club’s arrival in Porirua was testament to the effectiveness of the Pop Up Porirua project.
“Arepa are a great example of how we are helping entrepreneurs make their great ideas a reality and set up in business.
“It’s another sign of our commitment to revitalising our city centre while attracting businesses that will help us create a prosperous economic future for everyone.
“They are also adding great value to our kaupapa by promoting Māori in a language and format they understand and embrace. “