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Spark releases Kupu 2.0 to support Te Reo Māori in the classroom

Kupu, the breakthrough mobile app that helps people learn Te Reo Māori by translating photos of objects around them can now be utilised across more schools in Aotearoa thanks to the launch of a new version optimised for tablets and desktops. 


Spark’s Māori Strategy Lead, Lisa Paraku says the launch of a desktop and tablet friendly version comes off the back of overwhelming requests from teachers nationwide who have been wanting to use the app across a broad range of devices within schools. 


“The enhancements mean more teachers will be able to use Kupu as an educational tool and readily incorporate Te Reo Māori learning into their lessons with the use of smart technology – something we know our tamariki have embraced.” 


Orewa College Middle School Teacher, Joel Langlands has been a user of Kupu since its launch and is pleased to hear the new enhancements will mean more teachers will now have access to it. 


“Learning and teaching languages can be quite tricky, so having an e-learning tool like Kupu available for any school, teacher, parent, family or kiwi at home is an incredible resource that will allow us to weave Te Reo Māori into our tamariki’s learning.” 


Originally launched this time last year by Spark in conjunction with Te Aka Māori Dictionary and Google, the app has had over 177,000 downloads, over 2.7million translated images and circa 6000 daily users since the start of Maori Language Week 2019. 


Kupu 2.0 will also now include the ability for users to set push notifications on their mobile so they’re repeatedly prompted to learn new words throughout the day. 


Dr Dean Mahuta of Te Aka Māori Dictionary and Senior Lecturer at AUT, says the app has helped showcase how technology can play a role in keeping Te Reo Māori thriving by making it available across different means of communication. 


“Integrating the push notification capability on the Kupu mobile app is a great step to empower individuals to keep up their journey of learning Te Reo Māori. Repetition is a technique frequently used for learning and in the context of language, learning new material can be enhanced through spaced repetition and practice.” 


The Ministry of Education has adapted the National Curriculum to include digital technologies learning, which provides students with the necessary skills to take part, create and thrive in an evolving world*. While these cover developing digital skills, technology such as Kupu is a great way for our kids to integrate digital learning with other subjects. 


Paraku says “Kupu is a free and easy app for teachers to use. We hope these enhancements will add to the 56% of tamariki in Aotearoa already learning simple words, greetings or waiata in school.” 


Kupu is powered by Google cloud vision technology, combining with Te Aka Māori Dictionary translations. Te Aka Māori Dictionary brings with it a reputation for quality Māori language research and a pool of invaluable knowledge which has guided the project to ensure Spark had the right cultural engagement, awareness and guidance around the concept and creation of Kupu. 


Kupu in numbers 2018 – 2019

• Over 95,000 downloads during Maori Language Week 2018

• 177,000 downloads since launch

• 2,700,000 images translated

• 5,000,000 word pronunciations played



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