March 21, 2019

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Official launch of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages

Official launch of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages

New Zealand tech innovator Kiwa Digital welcomed the official launch of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages in Paris in January 2019.

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages in order to raise global attention on the critical risks confronting indigenous language and its significance for sustainable development, reconciliation, good governance and peace building.

Drawing on years of experience collaborating with indigenous groups in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Kiwa Digital CEO Steven Renata welcomed the global attention and the focus on self-determination: 

“With many indigenous languages critically endangered, this new forum is crucial. Fortunately it comes at a time when technology is opening up exciting new opportunities for indigenous groups, with immersive  technology allowing them to communicate indigenous perspectives in unique new ways“ Renata said.

To support the aspirations of the Year, the company is introducing a new technology programme, the Indigenous Media Toolkit, to boost indigenous media development globally.

The technology programme will help indigenous groups establish Technology Hubs where they can develop capability to publish their own stories in their own voices. Kiwa Digital will support set-up, training, licensing, asset curation and capability development.

The first international project is underway at Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Languages Centre in Western Australia, with the support of an Australian Government Federal Grant. It is aligned with the UN’s goals to make concrete improvement in the lives of indigenous peoples by strengthening the capacities of indigenous language speakers and relevant indigenous peoples’ organizations.

Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Languages Centre Manager Julie Walker explains:

“The goal is to bring the expertise, knowledge and sensitivity of our elders into the digital age. This will ensure cultural continuity, where our young people remain strong in retaining their Aboriginal language, culture and history.”

“We recognise the importance of indigenous groups building their own strengths so that the perspectives of indigenous peoples can be communicated authentically. “ adds Renata. 

The company is the first in the world to offer this specialised product for indigenous organizations.

Also in the pipeline for Kiwa Digital in 2019 are an internship programme for rangatahi Maori; a series of apps that tell New Zealand histories; more award-winning cultural intelligence apps for workforces; new projects in Australia, Alaska and Ireland; and a R&D project to take the new programme to the cloud.

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About Kiwa Digital

Kiwa Digital works with indigenous groups around the world, using technology to preserve indigenous knowledge in formats that are relevant and accessible. See Indigenous Media Showcase.

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