Collaboration launches Microsoft Office and Windows in Reo Maori
29 November 2005
A year of collaboration between Microsoft New Zealand, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori (Maori Language Commission) and Waikato University has delivered Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Office System 2003 in reo Maori.
Reo Maori Language Interface Packs for Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Office applications were launched in a ceremony at the 2005 World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WiPCE) conference being held on campus from 28 November to 1 December.
Language Interface Packs (LIPs) are free software downloads that provide computer users with the ability to adapt their copy of Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Office Standard applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook) to display many commonly used features in reo Maori. The LIPs cover most of the User Interface such as menus, dialogs and error messages of the most commonly used elements of Microsoft's Windows and Office software.
The new LIPs are available for download by the public at no cost from www.microsoft.com/nz/maori or by requesting a CD copy from 0800 800 004 at a postage and packaging cost of $15.00. Packs for Microsoft Office are available online from today, with Microsoft Windows available from 9 December.
The LIPs were created during the second phase of a global Microsoft Linguistic Partnership Project. Phase One focused on the creation of the reo Maori Community Glossary. In August 2004 a glossary of over 2,000 technical terms was completed through the moderation of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori. The glossary holds the technical terms relating to the user interface of Microsoft technology such as Hyperlink, Markup and Task Pane that may not already exist in reo Maori.
Then, in October 2004, Phase Two began with Waikato University's School of Maori and Pacific Development being appointed as the technology partner to work with Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori and Microsoft to deliver the Maori LIPs. Microsoft provided the University with easy-to-use software to assist in the development process.
A further contribution came from John Moorfield of the University of Otago who assisted with the creation of the reo Maori Spelling Checker.
Ross Peat, Managing Director, Microsoft New Zealand, says making Microsoft software available in reo Maori offers language and technology educators and students the opportunity to engage in a curriculum that meets the needs of the Maori community.
"Microsoft is passionate about all New Zealanders having access to technology. We hope the inclusion of reo Maori in our most popular software will help further encourage reo Maori, enabling speakers to communicate in their own language when using technology."
Chief Executive of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori, Haami Piripi, says the project is a powerful example of the results that can be achieved through the combination of public, private and tertiary sector efforts to revitalise an ancient taonga like our indigenous language.
"Too often we think of reo Maori as an archaic language but this project will help bring the language into the new millennium.
"The most exciting thing about this project has been the interest from Microsoft in revitalising the Maori language using their new technology. This in itself has presented further opportunities for language growth and this has been taken up by both the University of Waikato and University of Otago."
The role of the Commission has been to co-ordinate the collaborative efforts of each to ensure gains for all concerned. The commission has gained a new total immersion language domain; the universities have consolidated their linguistic knowledge and the ability to offer total immersion online services and Microsoft has continued its ambition to support all indigenous languages of the world.
Mr Piripi adds that an estimated 130,000 adults over 15 years old speak Maori, while around 326,000 students of school age are enrolled in Maori immersion, or are learning reo Maori.
"The numbers of people studying and speaking in reo Maori are on the increase. Access to Maori language versions of Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows will create an opportunity for Maori language users to work totally in a reo Maori environment at the cutting edge of global technology. This enhances their ability to achieve academic and personal goals in an environment that hasn't previously been made available."
Microsoft Office and Windows in Reo Maori
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