Hika Kia Orana app invented by faculty academic launched in Rarotonga

06 April 2017

Hika Kia Orana, an innovative mobile application specifically designed to revitalise the Rarotongan language, was launched in Rarotonga this week, paving the way for the development of Hika versions in other Pacific languages.

The Hika EXPLORER app, also known as Hika TOROTORO, was invented by Dr Sophie Tauwehe Tamati, a senior lecturer based in Te Puna Wānanga – School of Māori and Indigenous Education. Hika EXPLORER was launched in 2013 on Epsom Campus for the education sector. It was an iteration of the Hika LITE app launched in 2012 with Vodafone which was targeted for use by the general public.

“When I think back to the early days when I was still developing the app, and to see where it is now, I'm amazed. Watching my dream unfold to help to regenerate our Pasifika languages is fabulous,” Tauwehe says.


The Cook Islands Museum of Cultural Enterprise, where the app was launched.
The Cook Islands Museum of Cultural Enterprise, where the app was launched.

The first Hika apps were designed to help socialise and normalise the use of te reo Māori in Aotearoa/NZ. The launch of the Hika Kia Orana app in Rarotonga opens up opportunities for the Hika technology to be used with more languages.

“Like te reo Māori, many of our Pasifika languages are under threat, with the Rarotongan language being even more endangered that te reo Maori,” Tauwehe says.

In New Zealand, the Hika product set is focused on the learning and teaching of te reo Māori and supports the implementation of the New Zealand ‘Curriculum Guidelines for Teaching and Learning Te Reo Māori in English-medium Schools: Years 1-13’, the Hika Group website announced.