ReoAko – weave te reo Māori into your website

Te Māngai Pāho
+ Octave

A collaboration between Te Papa and Octave led us to develop an elegant interface that brought te reo Māori to life on the digital exhibition labels. This design planted the seed for ReoAko.

The opportunity

An overwhelmingly positive response to how te reo Māori was integrated into the exhibition reassured us that this was something that everyone could use and benefit from. With wider use care must be taken to ensure the ongoing integrity of te reo Māori and its kaitiakitanga by iwi and Māori. With the blessing of Te Papa, a hoa rangapū was formed with Te Māngai Pāho to develop the ReoAko plug-in product.

The goal

The goal of ReoAko is to contribute to the whakarauora of te reo Māori by making it easier for organisations to embed te reo Māori on their websites.

“ReoAko combines innovative technologies with the passion for te reo Māori. As te reo Māori continues to grow in our communities, so too does the need to push boundaries and create tools that make te reo Māori accessible in every context.”

— Larry Parr, Chief Executive, Te Māngai Pāho

The approach

Bringing the interface to oranga as a plug-in presented usability, accessibility and technical hurdles which were overcome through thorough testing and design and technical iteration.

Through our beta testing programme, early adopters informed refinements to the product and created a comprehensive view of their product onboarding and support needs.

Support structure

With the support of appropriate language expertise, we developed a user guide and support plan for website managers and editors. This guidance created a seamless onboarding process and helps editors choose the right te reo Māori kupu to use on their websites. Great care is taken to develop, maintain and expand our library of kupu. Language experts carefully curate words and phrases to ensure their use can be clearly understood by users while providing enough flexibility to work with the needs of organisations’ cultural and language strategies.

Under the hood

The ReoAko interface meets the New Zealand Government accessibility standards, making sure te reo Māori is accessible to all. Comprehensive documentation is available to help developers get ReoAko operational with a minimum amount of effort. ReoAko inherits your website’s fonts and the interface can be visually customised to fit your website by editing its CSS. The ReoAko API can be used by almost all content management systems. ReoAko supports plug-ins for Wagtail, Silverstripe, Drupal and Contentful. We welcome the development of plug-ins for other content management systems.

“[ReoAko] enables us to weave kupu Māori into our visitors’ everyday experiences with our organisation and they are extremely engaged with it.”

— Asharie Martelletti, Head of Marketing, BCITO

The outcome

The ReoAko plug-in features a library of expertly translated Māori kupu and audio that can be added to most content-managed websites. Website managers, who are not fluent in te reo Māori, can select words to be translated in their content management system. ReoAko will then display the te reo Māori translation on your website along with an easy-to-use popup interface through which readers can access translations and pronunciation content.

Play a part in the revitalisation

ReoAko gives organisations a part to play in the revitalisation of te reo Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand by infusing online kaupapa with kupu Māori. By weaving kupu Māori into English content, non-fluent readers are given the opportunity to ako new te reo Māori words in context, which makes new words easier to understand.

ReoAko won Gold at the 2022 Best Awards for the Digital Product and Public Good awards.

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