App helps pronunciation for te reo StoryWalk

Learning Te Reo . . . Teresa Blackbeard (left) of Gore District Libraries shows Tapanui School pupils Heidi Stuart (10) and Bruce Eales (9) the new app to go along with the latest StoryWalk. Joining them are Whaea Jaki Eales (back, left) of the Tapanui School te reo reading group and Laurie Ferguson, of KidzWay Early Learning Centre, with Te Atarangi Boyse (4). PHOTO: MICHAEL CURREEN

Just in time for Maori language week, Gore has its first bilingual StoryWalk with a new feature to help with pronunciation.

Pages of the book I whakaaro noa au are displayed on panels along the trail, which begins at the Gore Gardens.

Written and illustrated by Kay Mortimer to help her mokopuna with their te reo Maori, the former Gore resident’s bilingual book has since been published and shared with Gore District Libraries to use for the StoryWalk.

Library assistant Teresa Blackbeard said the English translation of the book’s title was ‘‘I wonder if’’.

‘‘Every page is a different animal doing something crazy and weird and wonderful. It’s a really fun book, so we’ve put it up on the StoryWalk for everybody to enjoy, just in time for Te Wiki o te Reo Maori — Maori language learning week.’’

This StoryWalk was particularly special because people could use their phones to help learn te reo Maori, she said.

‘‘I’ve created an augmented reality app that goes alongside it to be able to hear the te reo spoken by Whaea Jaki Eales as you’re reading the pages, so if you want to learn how it should sound when it’s read out loud then you’ve got some help.’’

Mrs Eales said it was a fantastic opportunity to help people with their Te Reo Maori.

‘‘When you scan the [QR code] then the story will pop up at each section that you get to and then you can either read it yourself or listen to me so I can help you with the pronunciation of the words.

‘‘It’s such a blessing to be part of this journey. I’m so glad the Gore District Library invited me to read for them.’’

Pupils from the Tapanui School te reo Maori reading group and children from KidzWay Early Learning Centre were among the first to do the new StoryWalk.

‘‘For the last two years we’ve been doing reading in te reo Maori at Tapanui School,’’ Mrs Eales said.

‘‘We thought, what a great way to celebrate them learning to read in te reo Maori.’’

Tapanui School pupil Charlie Roulston (8) said she enjoyed answering the questions about different animals in the story.

‘‘If it was true you’d say ae and if it wasn’t you’d say kao.

‘‘The first one was ‘i whakaaro noa au’, I wonder if bees can swim. But bees can’t swim because their wings will get too wet.’’

Doing the StoryWalk had taught her how to say new words in Te Reo Maori, Charlie said.