Reobot - a new app has been created that harnesses artificial intelligence to foster te reo Māori.   

Jason Lovell, founder of Reobot says it’s designed to assist second language learners in conversational te reo Māori.

“The way it works is that we've linked into an IBM conversational service, I guess you could call it. And in that way, we can help train the Reobot to respond in particular ways to a particular input.”

Lovell also says Reobot utilises Facebook messenger as a tool to converse with second language learners in the hope to revitalise conversational te reo Māori.

“Conversations need interaction. They need each person to ask a question. By us directing it in that sort of way we can sort of direct people to what we feel are common conversations that you're more likely to have every day and in that way it enables our users to practice more every day reo.”

With Māori language learning programs in hot demand, Māori language adult educator Ani-Piki Tuari says there are many facets of learning the language.

“Tēnei wā, otirā, mō ngā uri whakaheke e haere mai nei, tērā pea he wāhi ki a Reobot. I tēnei wā, kāre au i te tino whakaae i runga i te whakaaro ka pēhea te tangata e ako i te tirohanga i te ao Māori mēnā ko te kaiako he hangarau, he rorohiko rānei. Anā, he maha ngā wāhanga o te ako i te reo Māori. Kua tutuki pea te Reobot i tātehi wāhanga.”

While this is a modest start for Reobot, this is an initiative that will contribute towards the normalisation of te reo Māori.