Indigenous | Technology

Indigenous-led app brings ancient Ngalia stories to life

An indigenous-led app, Mamutjitji Story, is set to make waves as it launches today in Auckland.

This innovative app, created by KIWA Digital in partnership with the Australian Dilji Corporation, breathes new life into the ancient dreamtime narratives of the Ngalia Western Desert Aboriginal People shared around campfires for centuries.

The Mamutjitji Story app uniquely blends the rich, traditional storytelling of the Ngalia people with contemporary digital technology.

“So it’s two-way science,” explains Kado Muir, Director of the Dilji Corporation.

“Matching it up with European and Western science and displaying it with technology and convert this traditional story, and match it with science so that there’s an understanding of scientific methods while adding to it with indigenous knowledge.”

Through the app’s bilingual narration, animation, interactive games, workbooks, videos, and songs, users embark on a journey to learn how mythical monsters became the Mamutjitji, known in English as the antlion, the larval form of the lacewing fly. This immersive experience is designed to enrich classroom learning across subjects like history, physical education, and biological science.

Revitalisation of the Ngalia Language

Among the many remarkable aspects of the Mamutjitji Story app is its role in preserving and revitalising the severely endangered Ngalia language. Originating from the remote deserts of Western Australia, this language finds a new platform through digital innovation.

“This is the first time an Indigenous-led technology project and app has been launched in a remote location such as Leonora in Western Australia,” shares Muir with pride. “We hope our initiative inspires other remote communities, especially our young people, to aim high and embrace innovation and technology. Technology here has been used as a tool to preserve our cultural knowledge and language as well as to foster greater understanding about caring for the environment in a cultural way.”

The Vision of Kiwa Digital

Kiwa Digital Ltd, a Māori-owned media-technology company, has been a global leader in cultural service delivery since its inception in 2003. Initially developed to facilitate the dubbing of children’s television into te reo Māori, Kiwa Digital has remained steadfast in its mission to amplify the world’s voices authentically.

“Our kaupapa is to enable the world’s voices to be heard authentically,” states a representative from Kiwa Digital. The company operates through two main divisions: VoiceQ, which provides localisation software services to leading media production companies worldwide, and Kiwa Cultural Services, offering cultural consultancy and multi-media production services, predominantly in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Inspiring Future Generations

The launch of the Mamutjitji Story app stands as a testament to the power of technology in preserving cultural heritage. It not only serves as an educational tool but also as an inspiration for future generations to value and integrate their cultural narratives with modern advancements. This pioneering initiative marks a significant step forward in the global effort to maintain and celebrate Indigenous languages and stories.