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‘The World’s First Māori Speaking Dolls’ hit the big screen


Monday 9 April 2018

Pipi Mā

Pipi Mā ‘The World’s First Māori Speaking Dolls’ hit the big screen in new cartoon

On Wednesday 18 April 2018 at 10.30am hundreds of excited preschoolers will flock with their families to Hoyts Sylvia Park in Auckland to watch the free premiere of the Pipi Mā cartoon. Tickets are being allocated on a first come, first served basis, through EventFinda.

Pipi Mā is famous for becoming the world’s first 100% Māori speaking dolls launched online on 01 November 2016. Pipi Mā creators Kristin Ross and Hōhepa Tuahine’s initial concept for Pipi Mā was to create a full immersion Māori language cartoon for preschoolers, so the premiere is the result of many years of hard work, product research and developing a dedicated following of the cute, cuddly, and language enhancing plush toys.

Tuahine says, “It’s amazing to think that our journey with Pipi Mā all started when we wanted to make a cartoon in te reo. Getting a fully-fledged cartoon off the ground and onto screens takes huge resource, so we created the Pipi Mā toys instead and now just 18 months after launching the dolls, here we are, ready to share the cartoon with Aotearoa, New Zealand, and the world. We have come full circle to the original idea and are showing a premiere of our cartoon in a cinema to our tamariki.”

The pair, who are also parents to three young children and have been finalists and winners for numerous awards including the Rotorua Westpac Business Awards, the Best Design Awards and the New Zealand Innovation Awards, say that normalising and lifting the status of te Reo Māori are the primary drivers behind the Pipi Mā concept.

Ross says, “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. 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”.

Disney’s Moana made headlines in late 2016 for being the first Disney movie to be reversioned in te reo Māori and played in cinemas throughout the country.

“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.

Ross and Tuahine acknowledge the work that has been done in children’s broadcasting long before the launch of the Pipi Mā Premiere: “We are so thankful to the Ian Taylors, the Te Haumihiata Masons, the Pānia Papas, the Leon Blakes and the Tweedie Waititis. If it wasn’t for their unwaivering commitment and work in Māori broadcasting for children, the reality of our own cartoon made by us, for us, would have remained a sheer glimmer of light in the far distance,” says Ross.

Tickets to the premiere can be booked through Eventfinda with a maximum of 5 tickets per person. The Pipi Mā premiere is a free event and Ross and Tuahine say it is the perfect way to kick off the first week of the school holidays with your tamariki. Ross adds, “Get in quick, these tickets will not last, and we can’t wait to hear what all the kids and their whānau think of Pipi Mā on the big screen!”

If you miss out on tickets to the premiere, you can watch the Pipi Mā cartoon at from 9am 23 April 2018.


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