Being able to ask your phone for directions in te reo Māori is just one of the many options that could become available if machines could speak and understand te reo Māori. And that could be set to become a reality.

Iwi media organisation spokesperson Peter Lucas Jones says they’re in the process of making that happen.

“He whakaako i te rorohiko ki te kōrero Māori, ki te tuhituhi hoki i te reo Māori.”

Te Hiku Media is working endlessly on their newest project called 'KōreroMāori.'

Jones says they are after 200 hours of voice recordings from the general public so that the computer is able to familiarise itself with spoken and written te reo Māori.

“Kia koni atu i te kotahi miriona ngā kupu koia rā te nui o ngā kupu e hiahiatia ana e mātou hei whakauru atu ki te rorohiko kia mōhio mai te rorohiko e pēhea ana te takoto o te reo Māori, engari ehara tēnei i te kaupapa grammar he kaupapa phonetics tēnei.”

This is the first for te reo to be recognised in this way.

Keoni Mahelino says the developers of this project say the world turns and so does the technology.

“Today we can talk to our phones soon will be able to talk to our houses, cars and things like that so these technologies will become more ubiquitous with us right? And unless te reo Māori and other indigenous languages are embedded in these technologies then they're not going to have a place in the future.”

According to research at The University of Otago, an indigenous language dies every two weeks.

Jones has a statement to the general public:

“Ki te kore tātou e hoatu he rua meneti, he rima meneti heoi anō rā e kore e tutuki koirā au e mea ana kia kaha tātou ia rua wiki e mate ana tētahi reo taketake ia rua wiki ko wai ka mōhio mehemea ka ora tēnei reo ā ngā rautau e tū mai nei.”

All info is on the kōreromāori.com website and the goal is to have all voice recordings and words by the end of March.

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