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Google to update pronunciation of Aotearoa's place names pinned on 'Say it Tika' app

In an effort to preserve and protect Aotearoa’s indigenous language, Kiwis have taken the opportunity to pin more than 8,900 incorrectly pronounced te reo Māori place names on an online platform developed by Vodafone and Google Maps – with te reo tika (correct) place names set to be heard on mobile devices from late this year.

Say it Tika (say it right, #sayittika) was launched during Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori (September 11 to 17), with the campaign done by FCB New Zealand.

The most ‘pinned’ places identified as needing attention are Tauranga, Waikato, Taupo, Manurewa, Rotorua and Whangarei.

Vodafone and Google, in consultation with Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission), are now starting to work through a priority list to enhance the pronunciation of these place names.

And it isn’t just a week-long project, with New Zealanders able to continue to pin names on the website while the names are being updated.

The campaign was endorsed by long-time te reo Māori advocate, actor Temuera Morrison, through a tongue-in-cheek video calling for New Zealanders to help Google “Say it Tika” when pronouncing te reo Māori place names.

Vodafone is overwhelmed by how many New Zealanders got involved with the initiative during Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori.

"We’re proud of how New Zealanders have responded to correcting te reo Māori place names with more than 8,900 places pinned on Google Maps, 870,000 views of the video with Temuera Morrison and 13,000 sharing it on Facebook,” says Matt Williams, Vodafone New Zealand consumer director.

James Mok, Asia Pacific executive creative director for FCB New Zealand, says they always wanted their support for Maori Language Week to be more than advocacy.

"Say It Tika’ was about creating long-term change and having crowd-sourced 8,900 Maori place names New Zealanders want to improve means the future Google Maps experience will have a really positive effect in preserving the integrity of our native language.”

This story first appeared at StopPress.

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