Māori wahine with cerebral palsy communicates using tech

Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria

My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul

Have you ever thought what life might be like if you were unable to speak? UC student Dean Sutherland shares a story he found inspirational.

Unable to communicate with others using the language of your culture? Isolation, frustration and people making assumptions about your ability to think are common experiences. Thankfully there is now technology available to help many children and adults who struggle to speak or lose the ability. These are known as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices.

Geneva Tino is a young Māori wahine with cerebral palsy who communicates using technology – and is pursuing her dream of speaking te reo Māori. Geneva’s determination to be accepted, included and to learn te reo Māori is inspiring.

In this video watch how Geneva communicates and learn about the importance of te Reo Māori

(Video: Copyright Attitude Pictures Limited)

Geneva uses her AAC device to communicate her needs, thoughts and feelings. Currently the technology only supports spoken English, and when te reo Māori terms are entered the pronunciation is far from accurate. Initiatives are now underway to develop the software that will enable Geneva’s text-to-speech system to speak te Reo Māori.

Kia ora te reo Māori!

Dean Sutherland



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