'Their culture, their identity' - South Island preschoolers develop app to help other kids learn Samoan language

A group of South Island preschoolers have been a part of the creation of a new app to help other children learn the Samoan language.

The app, called 'Tatou o ile Maketi', or 'Let's go to the Market', wasn't designed by a web developer.

The idea, look and sound came from the children at Tino E Tasi Preschool in Corstorphine, Dunedin, along with its sister school in Christchurch.

"Well, Samoan language is their culture, their identity, so it's about trying to create a piece of technology that really engages with them and reflects who they are," Tino E Tasi Preschool’s Zohar Marshall said.

The app works by first giving you a shopping list and food items for you to drag into the basket.

When the correct item is picked, you can hear what the item is called in Samoan.

Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, praised the idea when he visited the young innovators to see their work first-hand.

"These children are learning in both languages the word for potato, putetu; coma, cucumber; sosesi, sausage. I mean, that's exciting," Mr Sio said.

After months of planning, the children's ideas were developed in Auckland with funding from the Ministry for Pacific Peoples.

"We're not trying to programme kids to be workers. We want these kids to be free thinkers so that they can become creators, innovators, explorers and navigators," Tino E Tasi centre manager Karen McCauley said.

"I've learned an awful lot that I didn't know before. I started about the different types of products you can get form the market and what they mean in Samoan, so I've learned."

The app is available to download free of charge.

Students at Tino e Tasi Preschool came up with the idea, look and sound for the new app. Source: 1 NEWS