The growth of te reo in concert with technology has led to people using Māori language as a tool for online scams.

As acceptance for te reo Māori grows, so does it's viability to be used to scam and dupe reo Māori speakers.  The number of scams using the language has surged since te reo Māori joined the Google Translate system. 

Internet  te reo Māori language use advocate  Te Mihinga Komene says te reo Māori used to be something of a shield for Māori speakers against scammers and shares an experience of how te reo could be used as a shield to screen out incoming messages. 

 

“Kua pāngia tērā momo mahi ki a au, nō tera wiki tonu, me te pōhēhē ko taku hoa tērā e hiahia ana ki te kōrero tahi mai ki a au, engari ko tana mihi tuatahi ki a au ko te "hello there". Ahakoa he hoa māua nō te Panekiretanga, ā, ka tere mōhio au, āe, ehake tērā i te tangata tūturu.” 

 

NZ reportedly loses $500m to online scams per year. Perhaps, is the fact that te reo Māori translation technologies are still working through some bugs, so it's relatively easy to spot a fake.

Komene says unfortunately, it's just a reality of the world we live in.

 

"Ahakoa te aha, koinā te ahuatanga o ngā mea katoa kei te ipurangi, ahakoa he mea ipae, he paetukutuku, he aha atu rānei, kia mōhiti tātou ki ēnā āhuatanga."

 

So whether you're contacted in Māori or any other language, stay vigilant.

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