May 18, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Maori iPhone Apps (REVIEW)

3 min read

Maori resources continue to evolve and transform the online spaces which we now inhabit. You can search Google in te reo Maori so it makes sense with the development of Apple’s iPhone applications (with more then 2 BILLION downloads since 2008) that yet another avenue for digital resources has emerged.

In response to some online korero that we were having on Facebook, the question was raised as to an Maori dictionary iPhone app, (kia ora Nga Rimu!) which got us wondering what applications are even out there that focus on te reo Maori. We were stoked to see that upon searching for the term “Maori” on iTunes’ apps store we found two possible applications. However, upon closer inspection we found that there is great room for improvement but hey we’re off to a start!

Maori iPhone Apps (a Review)

Maori2KanaCMaori2Kana was developed by Catalystwo Limited based out of Waitakere, New Zealand and is available FREE via iTunes. This application simply allows you to convert Maori words into Japanese letters.

The application does NOT translations, but just converts into Japanese letters. The interface is simple and easy to use.

It’s a great start but its usablity is limited… simply converting Maori letters into Japanese letters does nothing in terms of helping, say for instance, someone from Japan to understand Maori or for someone speaking Maori to be understood. So although its an interesting start it’s hardly of any use!

uTalkCuTalkMaori, developed by Euro Talk whose headquarters are in London is available via iTunes for a whooping $13.99! With most applications going for between $0-$5 this is insanely expensive but what you might expect from a large scale developer.

We were a little taken about but the use of our flag… Nice graphics but…

Euro Talk are large scale developers specialising in language resources. Their products cover a range of 120 languages, developed for PC, Mac, TVs and iPhones.

The following are two user reviews of this app:

LanceNZ (3 stars):

It was a surprise to see the first App Store Maori language tutorial come from eurotalk. The sample screens are identical to those for the many other eurotalk apps, so could this really do te reo Maori justice?

Fortunately, the answer is yes. This clearly isn’t a comprehensive tutorial, but it does exactly what the app description says, and does so well. You’ll pick up some useful words and phrases but won’t learn very much about the language structure.

The pronunciations sound “right” and are spoken with the expected expression. The phrases are smooth and words sometimes run together, as they are meant to.

This app uses proper recordings with nothing sounding computer generated. The only shortcoming is that I wish there were many more words and phrases. The design of the app is very nice, with slick, sharp graphics. I’m guessing that some people will find the totally generic nature of the words and pictures to be at odds with how language and culture cannot be separated, but the same objection will apply to all those apps.

Overall this is a useful spoken and written Maori learning tool

The only thing stopping this exceeding 3 stars is that the content needs expansion.

P.S. The app does display macrons, but curiously the App Store review will not accept them (expept for in the title of this review)

Amikee (3 stars):

Great learning tool, however it needs to have more phrases and words for the money spent.

So there you go whanau, we know there are Maori iPhone developers creating wicked Maori-focused apps as we speak (ones that can fly our flag authentically), so look out for some “Maori Made” resources on the horizon!

VO2 a Hamilton based ICT company has just VO2 is just about to release the final private Beta version of the Maori Dictionary iPhone app, so stay tuned as soon as it’s out we’ll let you know.Vo2 is responsible for helping to develop the Maori Online Dictionary.

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2 thoughts on “Maori iPhone Apps (REVIEW)

  1. I know that is cool that there apps for iPhone to do with te reo maori dictionary. But what I would love to is an app that has a translation software in it like other translation apps out there eg: English – Spanish. And you can either type full sentences or speak into it what you want to say, then it translates it into te reo and then displays and/or audibly speaks it back. If there is an app out that can do that would be the best learning tool. I say this because you’d know if you’re on the right track when you speak te reo into it and it then translates it back to English.

    1. wow if there is an app out there like that i’d like to get my hands on it. would be truly handy 🙂

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