Well-known translator, Hēmi Kelly (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tahu, Ngāti Whāoa) has turned his sights to the next generation of Māori speakers by helping to translate a mathematics resource for use in total immersion and Māori-medium schools.
Kelly has worked in collaboration with esteemed Māori writer, Witi Ihimaera, published his own books and now lectures on a wide range of topics relating to the retention and revitalisation of te reo Māori, both nationally and internationally.
Kelly has been working with the Matific app, a game-based learning resource that has been academically proven to help improve student test scores. The resource was originally developed in Israel and is now is available in more than 50 countries worldwide in more than 40 languages, including Māori.
The programme is designed to make maths fun, engaging and interactive.
“It’s an app for primary and intermediate children," says Kelly, "One of the best things of this resource is that it lets the child explore mathematics through games.”
Kelly has been a part of the translating the programme since it was adopted by New Zealand and distributed to some of the nation’s schools. One such school is Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Ara Rima in Hamilton.
“The children use this resource in class. They can compete and play against others in their schools or even other children in other schools, so there's lots of interaction.”
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Ara Rima are the 2018 Matific competition winners and competed against schools from across New Zealand and Australia.
Kelly says that one of the main attractions for him is the way that the resource echoes an intrinsically Māori way of learning.
“This resource, in my opinion, directly relates to the way we as Māori teach our children. We don’t just say to children, ‘this is the way you do it’ or ‘you should complete this’, but instead we let the children explore, engage and explore, so that they feel their way through the process. They’re learning maths while they’re playing,” he says.
The AUT lecturer says that the fact that such resources are being produced in te reo Māori shows that the language is in high demand.
“The language is gaining traction and is being incorporated into many different industries now. It’s like this because industries want to include it into to their systems,” says Kelly.
“Perhaps, in the near future we will be able to create our own resources that are developed in an intrinsically Māori way.”