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Skinny launches phone with support for te reo Maori
Posted on 14-Sep-2017 08:39 | Tags Filed under: News

Skinny launches phone with support for te reo Maori

Skinny has revealed its newest smartphone the ‘Skinny Tahi’, a bilingual device offering both te reo Māori and English. Launched to coincide with nationwide celebrations of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, the device offers a keyboard using New Zealand’s indigenous language.


Exclusive to Skinny and New Zealand, the Skinny Tahi is a tool for change and language revitalisation, with the hope of encouraging users to learn and use more te reo Māori in their everyday lives.


Skinny Brand Manager, Chris Scott recognises that there has been a lack of te reo Māori representation when it comes to mobile devices in New Zealand.


“The theme for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori this year is ‘Kia ora te reo Māori’ which not only picks up our national greeting but means literally, ‘Let the Māori language live’. Skinny Tahi is about helping new users to learn more te reo Māori, and those that are already fluent – to enjoy the experience on their mobile device. We plan to ensure that the technology powering the bi-lingual keyboard will be available across all new Skinny smartphones soon.” 


130,000 Kiwis have conversational fluency in te reo Māori while 300,000 are learning it at school and 10,000 in tertiary education. Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) says that new research indicates the language is once more being picked up by children in the home in areas where it had died out in the 1970s.


The Chief Executive of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, Ngahiwi Apanui is thrilled about the Skinny Tahi launch, saying Māori, from the time of first contact with the wider world have been earlier adopters of technology.


“The most modern communications technologies such as those provided by Spark are now helping the revitalisation of our indigenous language. Seeing and hearing te reo Māori as a common part of life signals the value of te reo Māori as an identity marker that sets us apart from the rest of the world.”


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