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Launch of Ngarimu story as a digital resource for rangatahi

Auckland, 15 April 2016

Launch of Ngarimu story as a digital resource for rangatahi

A new digital graphic novel Ngarimu Te Tohu Toa / Victory at Point 209 was launched by Education Minister Hekia Parata in the Great Hall, Parliament Buildings yesterday.

The launch was part of the ceremony announcing the five outstanding winners of the Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship.

The application was developed in a unique collaboration between Government, iwi and private sector agencies, and supported by Manatū Taonga - Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Ngarimu Te Tohu Toa / Victory at Point 209 is an interactive digital book in comic format, with audio and text in Te Reo Māori (Ngāti Porou dialect) and English. It is available from the App Store for no charge, and can be accessed on iPADs and iPhones. A further version in e-pub format will be available by month end.

Designed for reluctant readers and boys from the age of 10 years, the digital book takes the reader through the story of how Second Lieutenant Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu of 28 Māori Battalion was awarded the VC during World War Two.

On 26 March 1943, two weeks before his 24th birthday, Ngarimu led an attack on Point 209, a vital hill at Tebaga Gap in Tunisia. Under intense mortar and machine gun-fire, he led the assault up the hill, personally destroying two German machine-gun posts on a crest of the hill. Despite being wounded twice during the night, he and his men defended their position from several counter-attacks. The following morning during a particularly strong counter-attack, Ngarimu was killed.

Besides the Victoria Cross awarded to Ngarimu, in this single action his men a received an unprecedented number of other awards for gallantry. Sadly the unit suffered almost 100 casualties, including 22 dead.

Later the same day, the Germans still on Point 209 surrendered.

“Māori achievement is on the rise, but some of our rangatahi struggle with reading, and prefer audio learning. An audio book like this works well for them.“ Minister Parata said in launching the digital book.

“The greatest impact from this digital version will be with rangatahi Māori aged 15 to 17 years. The app will strengthen recognition of Māori language, culture and history for this group, many of whom would not normally be attracted to reading activity.”

The resource will contribute to the aims of Ka Hikitia, Te Mai Te Reo and the Māori and Pasifika Education plans.

Ripeka Evans, Pou Ārahi Whakahaere Strategic Māori Adviser, at supporting agency Manatū Taonga - Ministry for Culture and Heritage, also welcomed the resource,

“The app will enable rangatahi to create narratives about citizenship and nationhood. It will be a contribution to the core Māori cultural aspirations and inclusive identity goals of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.”

The digital book was produced by Auckland company Kiwa Digital using its patented technology platform that enables accurate synchronization of audio and text through to the level of individual letters; toggling between languages; and interactive features that are proven to increase understanding and engagement.

“This project was an excellent opportunity to showcase ICT capability within the Māori economy and we are encouraged by the results” said Steven Renata CEO of Kiwa Digital.

© Scoop Media

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