Hika EXPLORER app nominated for global award

05 August 2014

An innovative application conceived by a senior lecturer in Te Puna Wānanga to help revitalise te reo Māori has been nominated in the World Summit Awards for mobile content.

Sophie Tauwehe Tamati (Tūhoe, Ngāti Maniapoto, Tūwharetoa) is the brains behind Hika EXPLORER app, also known as Hika TOROTORO, which has been nominated as the best m-Content example from AotearoaNZ in the m-Inclusion & Empowerment Category.

Tauwehe says the awards are the Olympics of mobile content and innovative applications. “It is an amazing achievement to have Hika EXPLORER nominated as New Zealand’s best in m-Content and to have an indigenous language revitalisation app show-cased for the global stage.”

The World Summit Award Mobile (WSA-mobile) is a global initiative to select and promote the world’s best in mobile content and innovative applications within the framework of, and in cooperation with, the United Nations’ World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), and executed in collaboration with UNESCO, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development.

The World Summit Awards emphasize cultural diversity and identity, the creation of varied information content and the digitalization of educational, scientific and cultural heritage. It aims to make the benefits of the new Information Society accessible and meaningful for all humanity, and in particular, to raise public awareness and give deserved public recognition to the highest quality digital content produced all over the world.

Tauwehe teaches in the Bachelor or Education (Teaching) Huarahi Māori Specialisation at the Faculty of Education. She describes Hika EXPLORER as an example of ‘Language Lift’ which uses mobile technologies to mobilize, socialize and normalize Te REO within mainstream NZ society using textual, audio, visual and kinesthetic (activity-based) functions for learning anytime and anywhere, as well as formal curriculum-based courses.

The Hika EXPLORER app, which was launched on February 28, 2013 in Te Puna Wānanga, provides instant access to more than 54,000 common logical English-Māori language combinations to enable users to construct their own statements.

The Hika rapid language learning system can be downloaded for use on any iOS hardware (iPad, iPhone), any Android-driven mobile devices, on Windows 8 and is also available in a browser-based form for class or lecture room use.