Indigenous | Kiwa Digital

New immersive app tells history and stories of Mataatua

Kiwa Digital is celebrating the completion of its hapū interactive digital app Te Waka Tipua o Mata-Atua.

Managing director Steven Renata says launching the app, which tells the history and stories of the ancestral canoe Mataatua, is a proud moment.

With Kiwa already a leader in translations in various types of media and technology, such as dubbing international movies in their native languages into English through their audio production tool Voice Q, the app provides te reo Māori and English narrations and text for users, multiple functions to educate users and more.

It was developed through the education ministry’s Te Aho Ngārahu fund as an initiative to improve access to quality te reo Māori localised curriculum resources to support students and teachers in either Māori medium or English medium settings.

Kiwa’s job was to bring in the text, work with the client to develop the audio, which uses some dialects, and also work with the illustration to create the right type of imagery and create an amazing learning experience, Renata says.

It’s directed towards a tamariki and rangatahi demographic, and it is hoped whānau will take part and provide feedback on their experiences for what could potentially expand to include other pūrākau (storytelling) about other waka in the future.

'Meaningful and authentic'

“We’ve got lots of content, there’s no shortage of that. But it’s now about how we unpack that in a way that’s meaningful and authentic to the mana of this particular waka.”

Accessibility has been a key factor in making the kaupapa come to life to be more intuitive and educational for users, while also making sure that the quality and authenticity of the content is of a high standard.

Such features to help accessibility include swiping text to change from English to Māori and vice versa, phonetic pronunciation after a double tap on the screens and more.

“From a literacy perspective, swipe-to-touch and double-tap functionalities are incredibly powerful to start building confidence and competency for te reo Māori, but for any language, of course.”

The new app is available to download on Apple’s App Store or Google Play for Android users.

Public Interest Journalism