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Language Champions Igniting the Māori Economy

Wednesday, 19 October 2016


Māori Language champions are not only making a difference for te Reo Māori, but also helping ignite the Māori economy, says Steven Renata, CEO of Māori owned technology company Kiwa Digital.

Speaking as Kiwa Digital was announced as a finalist in Ngā Tohu Reo Māori 2016 for Digital Innovation Champion of the Year, and in congratulating other finalists, Renata says the revitalisation of te Reo Māori is crucial to the growth of Māori business and improved outcomes for Maori.

“We are proud to be nominated as a Māori language champion. Our vision, founded on the principle of Taonga Tuku Iho, is to build a global technology business that respects the aspirations of the peoples we work with, and helps them assert their own ways of understanding the world through digital media.

“Being a Māori business and supporting the revitalization of te Reo Māori is a crucial part of this mission,” says Renata.

Kiwa Digital’s contribution as a champion of te Reo Māori has grown as the company has moved beyond the children’s books market into ed-tech and adult learning.

Its mahi in the past year includes publication of Ngarimu Te Tohu Toa as a digital comic, welcomed by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage as "enabling rangatahi to create narratives about citizenship and nationhood”; bringing tech and te reo together in the classroom including a ground-breaking app for deaf Māori students; and a Cultural Intelligence tool-kit that introduces Te Ao Māori into the workplace in a fun and helpful way.

Projects about to be launched include: a youth-made app that promotes rheumatic fever awareness in South Auckland; a transmedia project with a Canadian partner inspired by the culture of Māori and Haida First Nation; and further Cultural Intelligence apps that will put learning in the hands of around 20,000 employees at Air NZ, Auckland Council, Worksafe New Zealand and Meridian Energy.

“Trends indicate continued growth in the mana of te Reo Māori in Aotearoa, with shifts in parental attitudes about te Reo Māori in schools, and increased interest in engaging in Te Ao Māori in workplaces. This will further fuel the growth of the Māori economy“ says Renata.

Advice that Kiwa is a finalist in Ngā Tohu Reo Māori 2016 follows the announcement last week that the company is a finalist in the New Zealand International Business Awards 2016 , in the category Hei kai ke aku ringa for Māori Excellence in Export.


Kiwa Digital Ltd

KIWA is a game changing digital innovator working across the media industry in digital publishing, education technology and postproduction fields. Founded in 2003 to facilitate dubbing of children’s television programs for Māori, the company has grown and developed this expertise, and applied its innovative approach to making te reo Māori an integral part of its products and services. It now offers a range of services that contribute to increased use of te reo Māori in new digital spaces.

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