Reduced Inequalities

Preserving an indigenous language with mobile technology

New Zealand


700 years of Māori

Over the course of generations, indigenous peoples have developed rich sets of knowledge about how to survive and operate in the world. Their wisdom, rituals and practices are of huge cultural value and significance. The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand who first settled in the country over 700 years ago.

A disappearing language

Over many centuries the Māori created a unique culture with their own language, an elaborate mythology and distinctive crafts and performing arts. Whilst they make up approximately 15% of New Zealand’s total population, in 2018 only an estimated 3% of people in the country could speak te reo Māori.

The Kupu on the street

As part of an effort to revive the use of the Māori language, mobile operator Spark have partnered with Te Aka Maori dictionary to create interactive mobile translation app, ‘Kupu’, which means ‘word’ in Māori.

Guardians of the Māori

#CaseForChange travels to New Zealand to learn more about how Kupu works and talks with John Hm Paitai, the Speaker On Behalf Of The Tribes Of The Far North, about why it is so important to protect the identities and traditions of indigenous peoples.

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