ReoBot: The AI-powered chatbot that will help you speak te reo Māori

A new Māori start-up aims to harness artificial intelligence to get more people conversing in te reo Māori every day. Say hello to ReoBot.

ReoBot has been launched to support people in using te reo Māori. Available for free via Facebook Messenger, it enables users to chat with and practice te reo Māori 24/7.

Created by Jason Lovell and Jonnie Cain, ReoBot was designed to address a common challenge faced by people wanting to learn te reo Māori. “When I was learning te reo Māori, I would seek out opportunities to practice but when you have a family, a job, this becomes difficult,” he says. “ReoBot is designed to allow people to practice everyday conversational te reo Māori in their own time at their own pace; on the way to work, at home, or whenever they can spare five minutes.”

ReoBot works by encouraging the user to interact and respond in te reo Māori through a series of short conversational chats. Questions such as "would you like a coffee?" and "how are you?" or "how is the weather?" guide the user through a short conversation that is conveyed in both te reo Māori and English.

Lovell and Cain hope this approach will help boost confidence in using te reo Māori in everyday situations. “Whether you know nothing or just a few phrases you will find this useful to start a chat. And if you are a beginner it will keep the reo Māori you know top of mind so you’re more likely to go into a daily situation and use it,” says Lovell. “ReoBot is not a teaching app, nor is it designed to replace teachers or be used as a translation service. What it can do is provide teachers with a tool to help their students with conversational Māori, especially young kids who have grown up with technology and mobile phones.”

The end goal is more people conversing every day in te reo Māori. “Te reo Māori is an everyday language; it’s not just for formal occasions.”

Chat with ReoBot here.

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