National | Drive

Drivers license apps to be translated into Māori and more

A Māori couple and creators of New Zealand's only Restricted and Full driving licence apps are looking to translate their devices into several languages including Māori. Swanie Mokaraka-Nelson says it's part of their move to engage more youth to get licenced and also to normalise te  reo Māori.

It's the everyday youth language that has 19-year-old mid-wife student, Michelle Ellis, confident about attaining her restricted licence.

“It's simple, it's straightforward. Like compared to the road code it's like all these big words that probably no one would understand,” said Ellis.

The simple language has also been a breakthrough for the Tusini whānau, where a mum, daughter and reluctant grandmother gained their learner's licence.

“She didn't want to but she turned up and it was the best three hours that she had spent because the next day she was able to look through the test online and she was able to do them confidently that when she went that week to go and do her exam, she passed confidently,” said mum Lisa Tusini about her elderly mother.

“And that was the biggest difference with Let's Get Legal NZ is that it's written in a language you can understand.”

Two years ago the Let's Get Legal NZ user-friendly resources were launched online. Last year the Restricted Licence app was released and last week the Full License app. Now the entrepreneur duo wants the APPs translated into Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Punjabi and also Mandarin.

“We found last year that a lot of the country was really having high success rates with what we're doing and that meant we had a lot of people coming to us and many of those were ones who had English as a second language,” said Swanie.

“So we always knew ok, this is something we needed to really address. And being Māori, one of the long-term goals things we had too was to eventually translate everything that we have into te reo Māori.”

“I think it's excellent. I think the heart of the APP came from South Auckland where those nationalities are expressed,” said Full licence app user, Te Rangi Parima.

Over 3000 participants have used Let's Get Legal NZ resources including their apps. Swanie expects a 30% increase in users for translated apps.