Stories of Te Reo

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori engaged For Purpose to support a public storytelling campaign that honours the history of te reo Māori. The bilingual website is a participatory interactive experience that uses sound, video, and animation to bring to life the characters, stories, and moments that have kept the language alive.


Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori | The Māori Language Commission

Impact area
Public Storytelling Campaign

What we offer
UX and UI






The Challenge

In 1972 over 33,000 New Zealanders signed a petition presented to parliament requesting te Reo Māori be taught in schools. The petition marked a turning point for te reo Māori, which was critically endangered and remains at risk to this day.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this event Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) engaged For Purpose to support Stories of te Reo, a public storytelling campaign that honours the history of the language.

The project aims to:
Inspire and empower whānau to capture and protect their own stories of intergenerational te reo Māori loss and revitalisation,
Increase the public awareness and knowledge of the historical fight for te reo and
Provide ways to safely preserve and honour these stories.

Stories of te Reo uses an interactive timeline to tell the story of pivotal moments in the battle for the revitalisation of te reo. The site invites all New Zealanders to contribute to the timeline to ensure that the stories, successes and sacrifices to revitalise te reo are never forgotten.





The Process

The concept of Stories of te Reo was developed by the Te Toko Reo Partnerships and Promotions team at Te Taura Whiri to raise the voices of communities across Aotearoa. To realise this vision, For Purpose facilitated a collaborative process to create an interactive storytelling campaign that would generate compelling content and inspire individuals and organisations to contribute and share.

Māori language experts, designers, developers and community organisers worked together to create a safe online space where Māori and non-Māori can contribute their experiences to the history of te reo timeline.

Design, research and development ran side by side in a collaborative, iterative process:

A survey sent out to Te Taura Whiri’s Reo Māori database at the beginning of the project informed an initial understanding of how organisations, kura and individuals would engage with the project and captured their concerns and questions.
Further input and feedback from the community was captured through interviews and user/website testing.
Ideas and concepts were generated, shared and tested with engaged language learners and experts throughout.




The Impact

The website has gathered 311 personal stories, with 219 historical moments identified. Stories of Te Reo is a living document - an ongoing interactive exhibition that will continue to grow. The government-led campaign to erase te reo Māori has caused decades of intergenerational heartbreak and loss. It is important that we understand the atrocities of our history, as well as celebrating the revitalisation of the language that we see today.

Stories of Te Reo helps all New Zealanders understand the struggles and achievements of the past so that they can continue to value and nurture te reo Māori now and in the future.

Awards and Accolades

Silver Award, Public Sector Campaigns / NGO Equalities, Polaris 2023

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