Topic: Technology

Papakura Marae launches bilingual mobile app

updated By Te Kāea
  • Auckland

Papakura Marae have launched a bilingual mobile app today that allows carvings to talk, murals to come to life and stories to play, as you walk around the grounds.

Tony Kake says, “The launch of the app will help any visitors to the marae to learn about the protocols, customs and history of the marae.”

The Papakura Marae App provides information about protocols and procedures for those visiting the marae.  Once on site, the app connects visitors with the tāonga, history and services of the marae using a unique wayfinding system based around GPS.

For several year, Papakura local, Dr Maggie Buxton curated and produced the app as part of her PhD research.   She then worked with Papakura Marae and Imersia Group - an Auckland tech, to form a partnership so that her research could be turned into an ongoing resource for the community.

Dr Buxton says, “I want people to get the experience of coming to the marae and feeling comfortable to know the protocols of the marae when they get here.

This place is filled with amazing stories and amazing histories and it makes it more accessible for groups, particularly young people who can use the devices when they come to stay."

While she is not of Māori descent, she says she loves the marae and has a spiritual connection with the place, and wanted to turn her research into an ongoing resource for the community to use.

She says, “I love this marae and the people here, I feel very welcome and it feels like my community as well.”

An added feature of the app, is that visitors inside the wharenui can hold their device over a carving or mural, and an audio or video description plays automatically.

Papakura Marae CEO Tony Kake says, "This is a great project for the marae allowing us to not only capture the stories of our elders and present them in a way that appeals to lots of different ages but particularly our rangatahi.  We see it being a key communication platform to our community going forward."

Significant work has been undertaken to ensure the app fits within the tikanga of the marae and takes care of cultural safety and IP issues. 

Buxton says, "It is wonderful to see my PhD research turned into practical outcomes for not just the marae but also the Papakura community.  I see this having incredible potential for local education but also tourism in the area."

It is hoped that a wider range of content will be made available including health, welfare and cultural information some of which is generated through digital projects with local youth.

Buxton says her vision for the app is to become a dynamic media channel and relevant communication tool for the local community who increasingly use smartphones to go about their daily tasks.

The app will be available to the public after further development by the end of the year.