Emotiki, the world's first Maori emoji app, goes live video

Emotiki, the first Maori emoji keyboard, has been launched this morning.
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Emotiki, the first Maori emoji keyboard, has been launched this morning.

Emotiki, an emoji app with a range of uniquely Maori characters and icons, was officially launched on Wednesday morning.

The app allows users to communicate through a green tiki, in lieu of the ubiquitous yellow smiley.

The tiki convey a range of emotion, from the universal to the Maori-specific - users can express themselves with pukana, a fierce facial expression used in haka, should they feel so inclined.

MORNING REPORT/RNZ

You may have used an emoji to let the online world know how you're feeling and what you're thinking. Now you can also use 'Emotiki' a unique Maori selection of emoji. Shannon Haunui-Thompson spoke to the Emotiki creators.

Other elements of tikanga are also incorporated, with hangi, boil-up, kiwi or marae emoji on offer.

READ MORE: Emotiki is the world's first Maori emoji keyboard

To give you an idea, here are my prosaic 'most used emojis':


They're, uhh, ironic I swear
The emotiki, however, are separated into five categories.
There's Emotiki:

Nga Tangata:

He Taputapu (roughly, 'Tools')
Creatures (with a specifically Kiwi bent, if you'll excuse the pun):
And Te Aoturoa (nature, with connotations of taonga)
The emotiki is the brainchild of Eruera West, project manager of Te Puia, who came up with the idea after a colleague told him that young Maori people were concerned they had no emoji to celebrate their culture.
"It's about showing that tikanga Maori has and can evolve... we're all about perpetuating the education around Maori culture," he said.
After consulting with local Kaumatua, who loved the idea, the organisation decided to stage a Christmas launch so "people will love them, share them with friends and whanau over Christmas".
"What we can do now is do things technologically, we can evolve for a range of people."
While he hopes emotiki is adopted among Maori, he stressed the emoji is designed for anyone who has an interest in Maori culture.
"Maori, Pakeha, even tourists - we hope anyone who wants to share the Maori language and culture with us will use it, and tell their friends."
Emotiki is available free-of-charge on the app store.
* Audio courtesy RNZ
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