Dora says Kia ora on Māori Television

Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants have been given a new voice thanks to a Māori Television project to translate the popular children’s programmes into te reo Maori.

DORA MĀTĀTOA and SPONGEBOB TARAU POROWHĀ premiere on July 21 from 3.30pm to mark Māori Language Week 2014. They will screen on weekdays between 3.30pm and 4.30pm.

Haunui Royal, Māori Television’s general manager of programming, says connecting with tamariki is vital for the revitalisation of the Māori language.

“This was a significant project for Māori Television and we hope that these shows will be a valuable resource for all of our tamariki, mokopuna.”

Translators from Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo – the Institute of Excellence in the Māori Language – translated both shows under the guidance of Māori language advocate Pānia Papa, who oversaw the project. 

Papa says DORA MĀTĀTOA has been translated into a national, standardised Māori so that the target audience of children aged one to five can understand. The Spanish language element of the show remains, so it is a dual language, Māori and Spanish programme.

Each character in SPONGEBOB TARAU POROWHĀ has been given a different tribal dialect as the series has a wider audience.  

“This will teach tamariki that there are differences within the language and help revitalise the different dialects,” says Papa, who has voiced some of the minor characters in both series.  

The voice of Dora, Te Ataakura Pewhairangi, didn’t start learning English until she was at high school.

Now a translator at Māori Television, the former Pukana presenter says she was thrilled to be part of the project because te reo had been such a huge part of her life.

“This was my way of giving back to the community and showing that there is a future with te reo.

“It was a privilege and an honour and a dream come true.”

Te Mangai Paho Māori Broadcasting Funding Agency funded the re-versioning of the programmes, while Māori Television funded the acquisition.

DORA MĀTĀTOA and SPONGEBOB TARAU POROWHĀ premiere on Māori Television on July 21 from 3.30pm.
For interviews, images or further information contact:

Lauren Mentjox
Kaiwhakaputa Matua
Senior Publicist
Māori Television
DDI         +64 9 539 7108