Indigenous language champions are not only making a difference for their language, but also helping ignite indigenous economies, says Steven Renata, CEO of New Zealand technology company Kiwa Digital.
Kiwa Digital is a Māori owned digital media company with a growing international reputation for its language revitalization work.
“Our vision is to build a global technology business that respects the aspirations of the peoples we work with, and helps them assert their own ways of understanding the world through digital media” says Renata.
In New Zealand Kiwa Digital’s contribution as a champion of Māori language has grown as the company has moved beyond the children’s books market, into ed-tech and adult learning. Its work in the past year includes a Cultural Intelligence tool-kit that introduces the Māori world into the workplace.
Globally, Kiwa Digital’s language revitalization work includes collaborations with the Alaska Association of School Boards, the Native Village of Afognak, Abu Dhabi Education Council, and Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages.
Renata says the revitalisation of indigenous languages is crucial to the growth of indigenous businesses and improved outcomes for indigenous peoples.
His comments follow a recent report on Māori in the New Zealand economy which noted Māori are facing a period of incredible opportunity for economic growth, forming an increasingly important share of New Zealand’s working age population, and with a growing asset base, already worth upwards of $43 billion.
“Trends indicate continued growth in the mana of indigenous languages, as a result of shifts in the education sector, increased engagement in workplaces, and changing consumer preferences to focus on values and understand the authentic culture behind a product. This will further fuel the growth of indigenous economies,“ says Renata.
In recent announcements Kiwa is a finalist in Ngā Tohu Reo Māori (Māori Language Awards) 2016, and the New Zealand International Business Awards 2016 for Māori Excellence in Export.
Kiwa Digital Ltd
KIWA is a game changing digital innovator working across the media industry in digital publishing, education technology and postproduction fields. Founded in 2003 to facilitate dubbing of children’s television programs for Māori, the company has grown and developed this expertise, and applied its innovative approach to making language an integral part of its products and services. It offers a range of services that contribute to increased use of indigenous languages in new digital spaces. See www.kiwadigital.com