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Waikato Regional Council helps spread the word in te reo

12 September 2017

Kawe Kōrero – Waikato Regional Council helps spread the word in te reo

A new free app is being launched tomorrow during Māori Language Week to help upskill Waikato Regional Council staff in te reo and tikanga Māori (protocol).

Media are invited to attend the launch of the app from 2.30pm-3.30pm at the council’s chambers at 401 Grey St, Hamilton.

The Kawe Kōrero app has easy to access information on Māori language, pronunciation and protocols. It also features waiata and video.

The app has specifically been developed to help staff, councillors and other councils to effectively communicate in partnerships with iwi and Māori. It will also be available to the general public by downloading from iOS or Google share platforms.

Kawe Kōrero, meaning to ‘spread the word’, is an initiative resulting from the council’s Māori partnership approach, which has a key focus of growing the council’s capability and confidence to effectively partner with iwi Māori.

“It can be daunting to attend a powhiri or step on to a marae if you don’t know the customs or protocols,” says Vaughan Payne, the council’s chief executive who has both Pākehā and Māori heritage.

“This app is a tool that can assist our capacity to work with iwi Māori more confidently. Our staff can now be prepared in any situation and I can recommend this app to others outside the council.”

Te reo and tikanga experts have been closely involved in the development of the app which teaches basic speech in Māori, with helpful audio to assist with pronunciation. It prepares users to attend hui or step on to a marae, teaching them what to expect, how to behave and how to contribute.

Built by Kiwa Digital, the app has interactive content full of visual and audio examples, and parts of it can be personalised, such as writing a self-populating pepeha (what you might say when you are introducing yourself to a group of people).

The app supports a wide group of users and allows people to learn at their own pace. It will also be continuously developed and improved, with new demo videos uploaded regularly.

The launch of the app follows the announcement last week that five council representatives are taking part in Mahuru Māori, the national challenge where participants speak only in te reo Māori.

Deputy chair Tipa Mahuta, Mr Payne and several other staff members have committed to speak te reo only on one day of the working week during the month.

Check out the promotional video at this link:


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