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First come first served for free Vodafone Maori app

23 Jul 2012

Quick-thinking smartphone users can download a free Maori learning app with Vodafone to celebrate Maori Language Week.

But the telecommunications company is only offering the first 50,000 customers the translation tool without charge.

Developed by Auckland University lecturer Sophie Tauwehe Tamati, the Hika Lite application translates English words to Maori, sounding them out and helping users piece together common phrases.

Such phrases are broken down into coloured ‘chunks’ used to create sentences and improve pronunciation.

With over 100,000 Maori words, the app offers language and culture facts combined with phrases which can be replayed and shared through text and email.

"The Hika concept was inspired by my own experience of using English to help fast-track my Maori learning,” Tamati said. "When it worked for me, I wanted to use it to help others.

"Maori language is a beautiful, precious treasure for New Zealanders to embrace, cherish and pass on to their children and mokopuna (grandchildren).

The Hika app is available for download from the Apple Store and Google Play

"We're delighted to support the Hika app during Maori Language Week and beyond,” said Russell Stanners, Vodafone NZ CEO. "It's a fantastic innovation that uses modern technology to connect people in an easy and engaging way."

For more information on the app click here