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Digital Citizenship - Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori!

We are currently celebrating Matariki the Māori New Year and this week we are also celebrating all languages, so it is a fantastic time to explore some relevant digital language development tools and resources. These themes fit really well with the ‘O’ part of our CLOAK which stands for ‘Ourselves as Learners’. Living in New Zealand we can be proud of our unique heritage and national languages. It is a great opportunity to embrace and celebrate our three national languages - English, Māori and Sign Language.

Māori Language & Protocol

A young man Finnian Galbraith a year 11 student at Kāpiti College wrote an inspirational speech that went viral about the importance of correctly pronouncing Māori words. The Waikato Regional Council has created a free App called Kawe Kōrero that you can download onto your phone to help you grow your Māori language skills and protocol knowledge. There are some great interactive tools to help you pronounce words, phrases and place names correctly. It’s really fun so why not try it out and share these tools with your family members and work colleagues.

The Kupu website has instructions you can follow to setup keyboard shortcuts so you can can quickly type Māori macrons correctly. Another alternative is to use an online tool such as Māori Type It. For more useful information and resources you could also check out the website from the Māori Language Commission.


Matariki is the Māori New Year and traditionally it is all about celebrating those that have passed and celebrating new life. Different tribes celebrate Matariki at different times. To some tribes the new year in mid-winter is signalled by the dawn rising of Matariki (the Pleiades cluster of stars), while to others it is the rising of Puanga (Rigel in Orion - the brightest star in Orion). For many iwi the appearance of Puanga in the night sky signals the start of winter. Puanga was said to be one of the parents of the climbing plant puawānanga. For more information about Matariki visit the Ministry for Culture and Heritage website.

Sign Language

TKI and NZSL Week website have some great resources to learn about sign language. The Sign Language Dictionary is another great resource that includes short demonstration videos about how to sign particular words. Sign Ninja is an awesome game, NZSL vocabulary and knowledge is used to unlock doors, earn points, “Thumbs Up” tokens or “Voice Off Shields” along the way. Meanwhile the player will have to face the “Shouters”, noisy characters who don’t know how to use NZSL and are so loud that they are causing the walls of the labyrinth to collapse! Upon reaching the Great Hall of Communication, players will be awarded belts in a variety of colours to reflect their level of achievement.

We hope you have some fun exploring and expanding your communication skills using these great digital tools. E noho rā!

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