National | Education

Mahimaina: Pā wars creator joins with Pacific to create Moananui game

Minecraft has 140 million players around the world. It has captivated the imaginations of our younger generation, as well as Whetumarama Paitai, a descendant of Ngtāi Porou, who is on a mission to integrate Te Ao Māori and Minecraft.

Pā Wars, an online Minecraft game where players fortify, protect, infiltrate and conquer villages.

“We created Minecraft games for children, children in full immersion and in the mainstream. The game was released in 2019. Players get to build forts, barricades and also learn about the Māori world online,” says Whetumara Paitai, creative director of Piki Studios.

Paitai originally created Pā Wars to pass on his culture to his children. His idea is now being used as an educational tool in schools and has had more than 100,000 downloads.

“Our tamariki are going to be the captains of our futures and so we need to make sure that we give them every possible platform that we can for them to be the best they can be.”

Now he's joining forces with Pasifika to create a new game.

“The game we are making is basically a plethora of Pacific culture, Christchurch Tagata Moana Trust's Nina Oberg says.

Paitai, who is also of Cook islands lineage, says, “We have struck a plan to support their community and their rōpū in developing their own resources.”

“We've got a big job in terms of getting correct representation from all of our Pacific peoples. There are 21 realms, there are 200 and something dialects and languages. There is a lot to try to accomplish. We want to make sure there is something for everybody so they can engage and see themselves in the digital world,” Oberg says.

The new game Moananui will launch in 2022.