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New Milestone In Drive To 1 Million Reo Speakers

Technology innovator Kiwa Digital is celebrating a new milestone with the launch of its latest project, Air New Zealand’s Kia Rere, an app for te reo Māori beginners that Air New Zealand is sharing with all Kiwis.

In the past four years Kiwa Digital has worked with big business and government to help workforces connect, respect, and appreciate te Ao Māori. The company has developed apps for 63 business and government organisations, whose workforces total 209,700 staff - around 8% of Aotearoa’s total workforce.

Now, three new community apps to be launched in Mahuru Māori, including Kia Rere, will push that number closer to 10%.

The company takes a mana-enhancing approach, introducing te Ao Māori through storytelling. Its apps are developed collaboratively and make the crucial link between language and culture, with customisable features that include te reo Māori pronunciation and expressions, tikanga Māori, and values of the organisation and its relationship with Māori.

Organisations taking up the wero (challenge) and working with Kiwa include,

  • Eight of the top 20 employers ranked by number of employees (NZDF, NZ Police, Fonterra, Air New Zealand, Department of Corrections, Auckland Council, Ministry of Social Development, Waitematā DHB).
  • Most large Government departments (nine of the top ten Government departments by workforce size).
  • Sixteen innovative local authorities, covering from Environment Southland to Far North District Council and including the largest, Auckland Council and Wellington City Council.
  • Two of the largest DHBs and three tertiary institutions, including the University of Auckland.

Now Araraurangi (Air New Zealand) in partnership with NZ Māori Tourism is inviting all Kiwis to join them in helping the Māori language fly.

“Araraurangi is a huge supporter of Māori culture and encourages sharing the culture through the use of te reo. We wanted to create an app to help our people on their te reo journey and at the same time give Aotearoa the opportunity to learn and feel comfortable using te reo with us.” says Cultural Development Manager Henare Johnson.

Kiwa Digital Managing Director Steven Renata welcomes the leadership shown:

“With the support of business, government, and community leaders we can reach the commitment to 1 million reo speakers by 2040.

Engaging with non-Māori, especially younger generations, is key to the normalisation of te reo Māori, with technology allowing this to be achieved at scale”.

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