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Source: Massey University

Tama Kirikiri (centre) holding the new graphic novel Manawatū at the launch, with children from Mana Tamariki in Palmerston North.

Amid increasing calls for schools to teach more New Zealand history, a new project just launched in the Manawatū will give students a very modern portal to some very ancient tales.

Manawatū, an augmented reality graphic novel resource, shares the whakapapa (genealogy) of the place names of the region and was developed as part of a $1.91m, four-year programme by the Ministry of Education to improve access to and accelerate the development and delivery of quality te reo Māori localised curriculum resources for ākonga (students), kaiako (teachers) and Kāhui Ako (The Ministry of Education’s Communities of Learning programme). It was launched this week at Te Rangimārie marae, Rangiotū, Palmerston North.

Tātai Angitu e3@Massey, the professional learning and development team at Massey University’s Institute of Education, secured the funding for this project. They worked with author and Rangitāne descendent Pere Durie, and design company Māui Studios, to ensure students will be excited about using the Manawatū resource, and teachers will have quality guidance to get the best from the resource in their classrooms. 

The cutting edge use of augmented reality means that although the focus of Manawatū was as a resource for kura Māori and Māori medium schools, the Ministry of Education have also commissioned an English version to be rolled out to mainstream schools. 

Tātai Angitu Kaihautū Mātauranga Māori and project manager Tama Kirikiri, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Konohi, Ngāti Rākaipaaka, Ngāti Kahungunu, Kāi Tahu, says it is a real first to see a resource developed in te reo Māori and then translated to English, and for a Māori medium resource being made specifically available into mainstream schools. 

Emeritus Professor Sir Mason Durie (seated, centre) with Rangitāne kaumatua Manu Kawana (left) and Wiremu Kingi Te Awe Awe (right) and children from Mana Tamariki in Palmerston North.


Nourishing the creative spirit of tamariki

“Kaiako Māori are most often in the position of having to translate English resources into te reo Māori to use with their ākonga. To be part of this ground breaking project, creating a first of its kind resource for both Māori medium kura and English medium schools is really exciting,” he says. “Gen Z tamariki [children] in kura today are part of the Youtube and Google generation where digital technology is integrated in their everyday lives. Utilising augmented reality and a high quality graphic novel to engage tamariki in this kōrero [discussion] will speak directly to them and will certainly inspire them as the creators of tomorrow.”  

The full project team also includes the head of Massey’s Te Pūtahi-a-Toi, School of Māori Knowledge, Professor Meihana Durie, as well as leading Massey volcanologists Jonathan Procter and Stuart Mead, who used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping, ensuring the necessary mapping was accurate.

Professor Durie says Kura Kaupapa Māori, in particular, have found it difficult to source high quality resources for their students and this project is important.  

“It is critical to nourish the creative spirit and imaginations of our tamariki and mokopuna, irrespective of which school they attend, or which language is their first,” he says. “We also understand, there is an increasing need across Kura Kaupapa Māori to supplement teaching and learning activities with resources from the iwi and about the iwi. The people of Rangitāne acknowledge the support of Tātai Angitū and Ministry of Education, particularly for the opportunity to have commenced this project right here at Rangiotū.”

Imagery of the resource is available on request and the augmented reality aspect can be seen in this video:

https://vimeo.com/332892010/6f6b8a0102

MIL OSI