Vodafone is offering 50,000 customers free Māori language lessons on their smartphones through a unique translation app to celebrate Māori Language Week.
The Hika application for smartphones is a fun, engaging and portable learning tool which translates English to Māori in written and verbal forms. Common phrases are broken down into interchangeable coloured “chunks” to create sentences. Users explore one of 12 categories – including greetings, introductions and days of the week – by swiping the chunks to create a phrase, which can be played back and shared by text and email with friends.
There’s also a section of interesting facts about the Māori language and culture and a self test area for users to try out what they’ve learned.
Developer and University of Auckland Senior Lecturer, Sophie Tauwehe Tamati, explains her genuine passion to revive Te Reo Māori is the driving motivation behind launching Hika.
“The Hika concept was inspired by my own experience of using English to help fast-track my learning Māori. When it worked for me, I wanted to use it to help others.
“Māori language is a beautiful, precious treasure for New Zealanders to embrace, cherish and pass on to their children and mokopuna (grandchildren),” Sophie continues. “The word ‘hika’ can be used to describe the first flicker of the flame that kindles a fire. Learning another language is a journey into the unknown – and Hika is like a lamp to light your way, and a roadmap to keep you on track.”
Russell Stanners, Vodafone NZ CEO, adds: “We’re delighted to support the Hika app during Māori Language Week and beyond. It’s a fantastic innovation that uses modern technology to connect people in an easy and engaging way.”
The Hika app can be downloaded from the Apple Store and Google Play.
Apple App Store: http://bit.ly/NlRaJ2
Google Play (Android): http://bit.ly/LZk1TK
Hika is available free to the first 50,000 Vodafone customers who download the app. For more information, go to www.vodafone.co.nz/hika.
Māori language facts
· There are approximately 100,000 words in the Māori language
· The influence of Māori on “Kiwi English” has produced “Māoriglish” – which has resulted in many words being adopted into common English usage such as Kia ora (Hello), aroha (love), ka pai (good), whānau (family) and kai (food)
· Māori has also been influenced by English with the frequent use of transliterations e.g. Tiriti (Treaty), rori (road), moni (money); ārani (orange)
· Throughout the first half of the 20th century the Māori language reached the brink of extinction, but in the 1970s measures were initiated to save the language