Māori language app brings the voices of native speakers to life

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

After 30 years of Māori language broadcasting, Radio Kahungunu are embracing digital ingenuity as they prepare to launch "Pukapuka Kōrero Tahi", a Māori language resource based on treasured collections from the storehouse of oral archives at Radio Kahungunu.

Apikara Brightwell of Radio Kahungunu says, “They have that way of speaking, that vernacular particular to us of Ngāti Kahungunu and Rongomaiwahine, there's nothing better, it is clear and conversational.”

The Pukapuka Kōrero Tahi app is a collection of reo Māori coversations between radio announcers Apikara Raarere and Te Arahea Robin.

A granddaughter to Apikara Raarere, Apikara Brightwell says, “They're having yarns, conversing about everything from their upbringing to issues of the day.”

Radio Kahungunu Station Manager Joseph Te Rito is the driving force behind what he says is an invaluable resource for language learners and those who are passionate about the longevity of te reo Māori.

“Their voices were captured and they live on as an example for us, that's what I encourage you, the foot soldiers, to do is turn to the voices of your own elders in your respective regions where the unique tribal dialect is stored, in the Māori radio stations.”

The first in a series of five, the app is free to download and the resource can also be used on desktop computers.

Te Rito says, “Gathering these resources together, the benefit is the language is alive once again and I'm saying the language isn't lost, it's not dying, it is alive and it's being spoken enthusiastically around the country.”

The app will officially be launched by Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta on the 15 May in Hastings.