Kiwiphiles wanting to inject a Māori flavour into their texts will soon be able to, with the release of the world’s first Māori emoji keyboard in July.
Coined “Emotiki”, the Māori emojis have been in development for six months, but were recently introduced to tourism trade and media at TRENZ by their creator, Rotorua visitor attraction Te Puia.
The characters have since found their way onto social media and have been shared around the world.
The 150-character keyboard will reflect Maori-specific concepts such as the ritual haka (warrior dance), as well as piupiu (flax skirt), waka (outrigger canoe) and whanau (family). There’ll also be a small number of animated gifs, including one for pukana – a fierce expression with stuck-out-tongue used during the haka.
Te Puia General Manager Sales and Marketing, Kiri Atkinson-Crean, says that while emoji have quickly become part of the world’s day-to-day digital language, until now there have been limited New Zealand icons.
“We wanted to create a unique New Zealand equivalent that represents Māori and Kiwi culture and although we were keen to wait until they were available to download to officially launch them, they have taken on a life of their own.”
Ms Atkinson-Crean says the seed of this idea came from watching kids celebrate their victories using emojis on social media at traditional Māori performance events.
“All they could use were expressions and symbols from other countries – we wanted to give them another form of this language with Māori culture Emotikis for an opportunity to express themselves.”
The keyboard will be available through app stores for iPhone and android by mid-July and will be free to download. A range of merchandise and apparel is also in development.
Source : http://traveltrade.newzealand.com/pa-in/news-events-updates/news/first-maori-emoji-already-taking-social-media-by-s/