ASB launches Kete Aronui Māori language app

As one of Aotearoa's official languages, te reo Māori is commonly used in New Zealand, with words and phrases often seen in sports, community and business sectors.

ASB is embracing this and helping its staff, customers and the public to become more familiar with everyday words and phrases through the launch of its Māori cultural learning app - Kete Aronui.

The interactive app is opened with a video of ASB chief executive Vittoria Shortt giving a mihi and encouraging everyone to learn te reo Māori with her.

ASB head of Māori Financial Solutions Anthony Ririnui says the app was created as an introduction to Māori language and protocols, and as a platform from which further learning could be added.

"Te Ao Māori is central to our national identity and it's what makes us stand out around the world.  When you travel anywhere in the world, people identify Māori culture with Aotearoa New Zealand. Our national sports and teams such as the Black Ferns and All Blacks have helped with that - everyone knows what the haka is," says Ririnui.

Statistics from the Ministry of Education shows the number of students learning te reo Māori is steadily increasing, and demand for te reo Māori teachers and lessons has seen many institutions and language classes full, with significant wait lists. 

"The Māori language is becoming a more and more integrated part of society, from children learning both versions of the national anthem and basic reo Māori at school, through to business awards and events where Māori greetings and cultural practices are now business as usual," says Ririnui.

"The app was built by Kiwa Digital and two of our ASB Māori staff, who worked with the Kiwa Digital team to pull together the content and do the voiceovers. We hope this will help New Zealanders familiarise themselves with some of the more common words and sayings, and build up their confidence to use these phrases in everyday life," says Ririnui.

The app is available through Google Play and the App Store, and focuses on te reo Māori and cultural practice teachings. It provides useful Māori terms and practices in a business setting, and also allows users to learn pronunciation with voiceovers of words and phrases, giving them the ability to practice phrases and songs, record themselves and play it back to check their learning progress.

Kete Aronui also includes general information about how a pōhiri process at the marae works, samples of how you can open and close meetings in the Reo, waiata (songs), and the ability to design your own pepeha. It also has some specific banking and finance terms, every day phrases and a list of 100 wealth related terms together with sample sentences on how to use those terms.

Kiwa Digital, the technology providers behind the app, said the initiative was unique. "We congratulate ASB as the first bank in the world to develop an immersive app to promote indigenous culture. Kete Aronui is part of a future where technology enables te Ao Māori to be integrated into our lives, providing on-demand access in an inter-connected world," says Kiwa Digital chief executive Steven Renata.

Māori culture is a big part of ASB, with te reo Māori classes available to employees, and ASB's Kapa Haka and Kōmiti Māori groups having existed for a number of years. A Diversity and Inclusion Council oversees ASB's employee network groups and drives diversity and inclusion initiatives within the bank.

"Like many organisations, we've been focusing on diversity and inclusion for a number of years.  We have some amazing, vibrant diversity within ASB and we're really focused on continuing to bring this diversity and range of values to life. By creating an app that anyone can download and is available at any time, we hope people will be able to add to their Māori vocabulary," says Ririnui.

Once downloaded, the app no longer needs the internet, allowing users to learn wherever they choose.

To download and find out more about Kete Aronui please visit the Apple Store and Google Play.

Mā tātou katoa te reo Māori e whakarauora - Everyone can contribute to te reo Māori revitalisation.
Kia Kaha te Reo Māori - Let's make the Māori language strong.