Staff at Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato | The University of Waikato are working together in the field of Computer Science to find innovative ways to address everyday issues through the use of technology, while supporting and promoting te ao and te reo Māori.
NetStinky is a smartphone app developed at Te Whare Wānanga for the purpose of checking the health of the user’s home network fast and easy. Unlike a traditional anti-virus (which can only check for problems on a single computer) NetStinky can monitor the health of all of your internet-connected devices, such as smartphones, tablets and smart devices in a single easy-to-use app.
The project has also sought to address Vision Mātauranga considerations by increasing the capability of Māori individuals, iwi, hapū, and marae to engage with science and innovation in cybersecurity. To realise this vision, Andrew Mackintosh, Research Programmer and sole developer on the NetStinky project, sought the help of Tutor of te reo Māori Anna Taskoff (Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi), who assisted as consulting translator, along with the expertise of Associate Professor Te Taka Keegan (Waikato-Maniapoto, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Whakaue).
According to Mackintosh, collaboration with Taskoff and Associate Professor Keegan has been crucial to the success of creating the te reo Māori user interface, with Mackintosh explaining technological concepts, and Taskoff providing insight into how a concept could be described as a metaphor within te ao Māori,
“Direct translation often poses issues. For someone with very limited knowledge of te reo Māori, I didn’t have the necessary context for applying translation. Through collaboration with Anna, I’ve learnt that translation often requires recontextualisation. Drawing on that experience and the wider context was really important in producing a set of translations that are not only accurate but clear and understandable, and I think we have achieved that really well as a team”.
Associate Professor Keegan specialises in te reo Māori interfaces and interaction for accessibility and availability and says such collaboration is vital for te reo Māori to thrive,
“For the language to thrive, it must be available where language is used. As we become more technological, more engaged in the online environment, if speakers are switching to te reo Pākehā in order to make that engagement, then te reo Māori is not being supported. NetStinky is an example of that. It’s creating tech and altering it so that te reo Māori has a natural place in the use of this technology”.