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8 businesses that launched te reo Maori initiatives for Maori Language Week

By Julia Gabel
Fri 15 Sep 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Te wiki o te reo Maori runs from the 11th to the 17th of September. So far, a flurry of businesses have launched te reo Maori initiatives to celebrate the week.  

Minister for Maori development, Te Ururoa Flavell, set a challenge at the outset of the 42nd Maori Language Week: “Use Maori Language Week to make a change in your life that lasts well beyond the week.”   

“No matter what level your te reo Maori is, everyone should be able to think of a change they can introduce to their own lives to support more Māori in our communities,” says Flavell.

“It may be as simple as saying ‘Morena’ every morning or saying ‘kia ora’ instead of ‘thank you’. Be brave and give something a go.”

Here are 8 businesses that launched initiatives in recognition of Maori Language Week.  

1. Maori Television

To celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori 2017, Maori Television has injected a little more te reo into popular culture with the release of the world’s first Maori inspired GIFs.

Created in collaboration with Auckland-based creative agency Fly, the series of GIFs utilize common sayings in a graphic and bilingual way, aiming to give young Maori a way to be represented in their own language online.

Maori Television’s Keeley Sander says, “There are literally thousands of cat gifs, but less than 19 that are Maori themed.”

“We thought it was time for the tables to turn.”

2. Vodafone

Vodafone launched Say it Tika, a platform that aims improve the pronunciation of Maori words on Google Maps.

Through Say it Tika, users can drop a pin on a virtual map, identifying the Maori place names that are currently being mispronounced on Google Maps.

This then creates a priority list of words for Google Maps to update. Temuera Morrison is the face of the campaign and stars in a video encouraging Kiwis to say it tika.  

3. Westpac

On Monday, the first day of Maori Language Week, Westpac added the Waikato-Tainui language option to its ATMs around the country.

This is the first time a bank has offered an ATM language option distinct to one iwi, and Westpac is talking to other iwi about introducing more language options in the future.

4. Spark

In recognition of Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori, Spark released its first te reo Māori narrated advertising campaign in partnership with Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori (Maori Language Commission).

The company relaunched its “Little can be huge” brand with a translation into te reo Maori. The campaign is voiced by five-year-old Piiata Nairn from Wellington who is fluent in both te reo Maori and English.

Chief executive of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori, Ngahiwi Apanui says the Commission is thrilled to have teamed up with Spark.

“Including te reo Maori in the advertisement is indicative of the great support that Spark has for te reo Maori. The sentiments and impacts are so important for the health of the language,” says Apanui.

“As the advertisement says “He kupu iti, ka ora te reo” - A little word can save a language - and, with a little help, a little country can take on the world. “Ae marika…he nui ano te iti.”

5. ANZ

In a launch that coincided with the start of Māori Language Week, ANZ added te reo Maori to its 650 ATMs throughout New Zealand.

“Te Reo Māori is fundamental to our national identity and this is a milestone in our commitment to the language. We hope this gives people another opportunity to use Te Reo in daily life,” says Antonia Watson, ANZ’s managing director for retail and business banking.

6. Skinny mobile

Skinny announced that its newest smartphone, the ‘Skinny Tahi’, is a bilingual device offering both te reo Maori and English. The device offers a keyboard using te reo Maori.

Skinny brand manager, Chris Scott recognises that there has been a lack of te reo Maori representation when it comes to mobile devices in New Zealand.

“The theme for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori this year is ‘Kia ora te reo Māori’ which not only picks up our national greeting but means literally - Let the Maori language live,” comments Scott.

“Skinny Tahi is about helping new users to learn more te reo Maori, and those that are already fluent - to enjoy the experience on their mobile device.”

7. Department of Conservation

The Department of Conservation (DOC) added a new activity and medal to its Toyota Kiwi Guardians for Maori Language week.

“To earn this medal, kids are encouraged to use te reo and spread the word about great nature locations, while learning about its Maori cultural significance,” says Nic Toki, DOC’s threatened species ambassador.

Kids can claim their medals from the 11th September and with only 100 Toa Tiaki Taiao medals available, this is a special feature for Maori Language Week.

8. Trade Me

For Maori Language Week, Trade Me made a number of small changes to its application, such as translating the app name and some of the more familiar areas of the app.

Instead of machine translations, Trade Me is working with licensed Maori translators and language consultants to develop a process for building the Maori language content of its apps.

This move is indicative of something larger and more permanent, says Trade Me.

The company is looking at how it can support the use of te reo Maori in user-generated content in the future and is laying the foundations for further te reo support on the app in the future.   

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