Waikato Regional Council's app Kawe Kōrero has taken out the supreme award at the annual Local Government Excellence Awards.
The app was launched last September to help staff and councilors communicate in partnership with iwi and Māori.
It focuses on basic Māori language use, pronunciation and protocols. Its key features include waiata, mihimihi and karakia.
Council chief executive Vaughan Payne says the award shows a “well-deserved recognition of our Kawe Kōrero team who put a lot of effort into ensuring the app was innovative, informative and easy to use”.
In the first six months, the app video had been viewed more than 50,000 times and shared more than 7,000 times. The app has been downloaded to just over 4,100 devices, including in Australia and Europe.
“This shows it’s a unique app and there is a real need and desire for it,” says Payne.
Council chair Alan Livingston agrees, “it can be daunting to attend a pōwhiri or step on to a marae if you don’t know the customs or protocols.
“Having been in this situation myself over years of public service, I am extremely proud our organisation has led the way and in doing so displayed dedication and professionalism in this space of promoting Māori language and protocols”.
As well as winning the supreme award it also won the Capability Group Award for Innovation in Council – Community Relations.