The National Māori Language Insitute, Te Ipukarea, was shortlisted for a prestigious internet award with its online Māori dictionary.
The Australia and New Zealand Internet Awards (ANZIA) are an annual event.
They recognise the achievements of organisations that have made significant contributions to the development and use of the internet in Australia and New Zealand.
The Te Aka Māori-English/English-Māori dictionary is one of six websites to have made the shortlist for the diversity category, one of six categories at the awards.
The creators were asked to apply by the New Zealand organisers of the awards.
AUT professors John Moorfield and Tania Ka’ai lead the online dictionary and both believe it is one of the most valuable tools for learners and speakers of te reo Māori.
“It is important because it makes the dictionary accessible and free to everybody,” says Moorfield.
The professors agree the dictionary meets the criteria for the category, which include promoting multilingualism and indigenous cultures online, and encouraging expressions of cultural diversity and identity.
Originally developed in 2006, the Te Aka dictionary is now the most popular online Māori language dictionary.
People in 213 countries have used the dictionary so far.
By the end of July 2012 the website had registered 1,599,338 hits.
Since its beginning, Te Aka has been updated with numerous new entries, photographs and sound tracks.
There is also now a Te Aka dictionary application available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices.
Professor Moorfield says the aim of the online version of the dictionary is to be easily accessible anywhere in the world so it maintains its reputation as a leading and valuable tool for Māori language learners and speakers.
In 2010 Professor Moorfield explained why Te Ipukarea had embraced the digital platform.
“It’s the way the world is going.
“If we can use this kind of technology to help encourage more people to learn and speak te reo then we would have been foolhardy not to have utilised it.”
Ex-Westlake head girl Shanice Duggan-Keefe, from Ngai Tamanuhiri and Ngati Porou, used the Te Aka dictionary when she was learning NCEA Level one and two te reo Māori.
“I love how they would give you an example of the word you searched for used in a sentence which is so good because a lot of Māori words can have multiple meanings. So it’s important you get the right one in the right context.”
Moorfield says a win for Te Aka would be beneficial to fund other projects for te reo Māori.
The winner of the internet award was announced on October 10 at the ANZIA gala dinner in Canberra.
Hika group received first place.