App helps health professionals learn medical terms in te reo

By Online News - Rereātea
  • South Island

A new, innovative App developed at the University of Otago, Christchurch will allow health professionals to learn te reo Māori as well as medical terms.

The free app aki Hauora teaches Te Reo terms commonly used in the health environment by involving participants in an interactive game. 

The University's Māori /Indigenous Health Institute director Associate Professor Suzanne Pitama says the App was designed as an interactive way for medical students to learn te reo Māori commonly used in clinical settings. 

“When Maori patients use Te Reo Māori within a clinical setting, it provides the opportunity for clinicians to engage in a deeper level of communication to support more effective assessment and management of the patient and their whanau.  The more clinicians use Te Reo, the greater their own confidence and competence builds in Te Reo Māori.   The App is a fun way to quickly and easily learn Te Reo relevant to clinical consultations, such as names for body parts or conditions.’’

Pitama says Aki Hauora is a health-related version of an App developed by Professor Poia Rewi and the team at Te Tumu. Professor Rewi and his colleagues originally created Aki to develop Māori language vocabulary to assist Māori families in the early stages of their language journeys. 

Players of the Aki and Aki Hauora Apps must identify and select Māori phrases in order to paddle their waka and escape a taniwha (monster). 

The Aki Hauora App will be used by medical students at the University of Otago’s Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin medical schools, but is freely available to anyone interested in expanding their understanding of Te Reo. The first stages of the interactive game begin with easier words relevant to people’s health such as kai (food), pakaru (broken) and moe (sleep). Later stages test players on less common words such as disease names such as mate pukupuku (cancer) and mate pāpōuri (depression). 

The Aki Hauora App is available for both Apple and Android devices. Andrew Cornish of Monkeywise Ltd and Grant Baxter, an iOS App developer from AppLab Ltd and Professional Practice Fellow with the University’s Department of Applied Science, developed the Aki Hauora App’s technology.