For awhile there, it seemed like there was a dearth of apps for New Zealand’s Māori to express themselves digitally.
But now there’s Emotiki, which calls itself the world’s first Māori emoji app. And it looks pretty awesome.
Available on iOS and Android, the sticker app includes 200 different Māori icons, from emotions to food, to sports and animals associated with the cultures of Aotearoa.
It’s not true Emoji as you would find in your smartphone’s keyboard — the folks at Unicode call the shots on that. They’re more like images you can share via your messaging app
The app was created by Te Puia, a Maori arts and culture institute based in Rotorua.
Eruera West, Te Puia’s project manager, came up with the idea following concerns from young Māori who said they had no emoji to show off their culture.
“It’s about showing that tikanga Māori has and can evolve…we’re all about perpetuating the education around Māori culture,” West told Stuff.
Te Puia consulted with Māori elders during the app’s creation process, and she says the response was very positive.
West hopes not only just Māori kids will use it, but anyone who has an interest in the culture.
“Maori, Pakeha, even tourists — we hope anyone who wants to share the Māori language and culture with us will use it, and tell their friends.”