25 Jun 2015

Māori myths hit the digital age

2:52 pm on 25 June 2015

Using electronic media to tell Māori stories is proving a success for one company, which plans to expand its comic book series of Māori myths.

An image from one of the online series of comic books about Māori myths

An image from one of the online series of comic books about Māori myths Photo: Supplied

Kiwa Digital's Ngā Atua Māori series was created with students and teachers in mind but they have been so well received the creators are planning a series on traditional Māori goddesses.

The digital comics were commissioned by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori - the Māori Language Commission.

Steven Renata

Steven Renata Photo: Supplied

The company's global business development director, Steven Renata, said the digital novella, launched last year, had already cracked a milestone in the number of downloads it had had.

"We thought this was a great opportunity to honour the culture of our indigenous folk in Aotearoa, but also contemporise the messaging and the meaning. The feedback from teachers and students has been extremely positive," he said.

The plan now was to extend its reach from the school market to the wider public both nationally and internationally.

"They say in the digital world that once you've cracked 1000 downloads you've already proven you're a success," Mr Renata said.

"We've cracked that mark without doing what we call a substantial 'B to C, straight to consumer' marketing campaign. So building on the base of the school network, we'll start to shift out to parents, the wider New Zealand public and in time, the international market that has an interest in stories about Aotearoa [and] indigenous language."

The Ngāpuhi man said the idea was to look at developing digital experiential books in both English and te reo Māori using a new format that was compelling for youth, particularly those attending kura.

Using electronic media to tell Māori stories was a reflection of how people, particularly youth, were accessing information.

"We still haven't seen mobile and digital replace print forms [but] it is definitely occupying a lot of the time. From Kiwa Digital's perspective, we want to ensure the content is of the highest quality. It's incredibly relevant and it's delivered in a way that's engaging to the user."