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Education Minister launches digital resource to strengthen Te Reo Māori

18 Apr 2016

Education Minister Hekia Parata has launched a new digital graphic novel aimed to strengthen recognition of the Māori language, culture and history amongst certain students,

The book, Ngarimu Te Tohu Toa / Victory at Point 209, was launched as part of a ceremony announcing the five winners of the Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship.

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.

According to Parata, 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.

The minister says the digital book was designed for reluctant readers and boys from the age of 10 years, taking 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.

“Māori achievement is on the rise, but some of our rangatahi struggle with reading, and prefer audio learning,” Parata says.

“An audio book like this works well for them,” she states. 

“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,” Parata explains.

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

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.” Evans explains.

The digital book was produced by Auckland company Kiwa Digital using its patented technology platform that enables accurate synchronisation 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,” adds Steven Renata, CEO of Kiwa Digital.

The digital book 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.

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