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Trilingual Conservation App A World-First

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has produced an app to help people in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland identify places, spaces and species in nature around the city. In what is thought to be a world-first, the app uses three languages - Te Reo, English, and Mandarin – and it speaks to you.

The free app is called Pūkete taiao o Tāmaki Makaurau/the language of nature in Auckland and is available in both app store and /play store.

DOC produced the app a few years ago to help the user gain confidence in pronouncing Te Reo correctly.

DOC Strategic Partnerships Advisor Julie Kidd, based in Tāmaki Makaurau, wrote the app about five years ago.

“It started as a passion project really as I wanted to help the conservation partners I was working with improve their identification and pronunciation of Te Reo. It had such an immediate and large uptake by thousands of people all around the world, we thought, what next?

“The obvious opportunity was Mandarin to support resident Chinese communities in Auckland to engage safely in nature in and around the city.”

New Zealand Chinese Language Week Trust chair Jo Coughlan welcomed the development of the trilingual app, saying it is the sort of tool the trust is encouraging people to give a go. The NZCLW Trust has produced its resources in three languages for several years now.

NZCLW celebrates multilingualism in New Zealand and recognises the advantages of learning Chinese in our increasingly globalised community.

Now in its sixth year, the Kiwi-led initiative is being held across New Zealand between 20 - 26 September this year, and the theme is A Taste of New Zealand - celebrating the food and drink links between our Chinese and New Zealand cultures.

NZCLW has resources designed to make it easier to practice helpful phrases provided by the trust through its website nzclw.com.

There are helpful phrase guides and posters available to download from the NZCLW website, nzclw.com. People can take part in the #5Phrases5Days challenge and post on social media using #NZCLW or #NZCLWDumplingDay hashtags.

Jo says the trust hopes to help more Kiwis ‘give Chinese a go’ by taking part in an event, taking the #5Phrases5Days challenge, or eating some dumplings.

A key part of the week will be Dumpling Day, September 26, a chance to celebrate the delicious little food parcels and highlight some of the great producers of dumplings in New Zealand - or indeed any good Chinese food made with great New Zealand products.

“While we aren’t able to travel between New Zealand and China at the moment, there is lots of shared history and culture - particularly food culture - to celebrate within New Zealand. We encourage the public and local business community to get involved, host an event, and help inspire New Zealanders to better understand and connect with our Chinese friends and partners.”

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