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Kawe Kōrero app scoops top award at SOLGM awards

File photo.

Waikato Regional Council’s cultural intelligence app Kawe Kōrero has taken out the Supreme Award at the annual SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards.

The app was launched last September after being developed specifically to help staff, councillors and other councils to confidently and effectively communicate in partnerships with iwi and Māori.

It zeros in on basic Māori language use, pronunciation and protocols. Key features include waiata, mihimihi, karakia and video.

At last night’s ceremony in Auckland the app won the Capability Group Award for Innovation in Council – Community Relations. It then went on to win the overall 2018 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards® Supreme Award.

Judges described Kawe Kōrero, meaning to ‘spread the word’, as fundamental to local government and recognised its innovation in information sharing and easy to use features.

Council chief executive Vaughan Payne said: “This is well deserved recognition of our Kawe Kōrero team who put a lot of effort into ensuring the app was innovative, informative and easy to use.”

Kawe Kōrero is an initiative resulting from the council’s Māori partnership approach, which has a key focus of growing the council’s capability and confidence to effectively partner with iwi Māori.

In the first six months the promotional video has been viewed more than 50,000 times and shared more than 7000 times. The app has now been downloaded to just over 4100 devices, including in Australia and Europe (4 per cent of downloads).

“This shows it’s a unique app and there is a real need and desire for it,” said Mr Payne.

Council chair, Alan Livingston, agreed. “It can be daunting to attend a pōwhiri or step on to a marae if you don’t know the customs or protocols,” he said.

“Having been in this situation myself over years of public service, I am extremely proud our organisation has led the way and in doing so displayed dedication and professionalism in this space of promoting Māori language and protocols.”

Waikato Regional Council contracted the expert digital skills of Kiwa Digital, to attain the desired level of interactive content full of visual and audio examples. Parts of the app can also be personalised, such as writing a self-populating pepeha (what you might say when you are introducing yourself to a group of people).

The app supports a wide group of users and allows people to learn at their own pace. It is also being continuously developed and improved.

Check out the promotional video at this link:

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