Combining Medium and Message: An Electronic Communications Network for Maori Language and Education

Year: 1992

Author: Benton, Richard A.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

An electronic communications network, Te Wahapu has been developed by Te Wahanga Kaupapa Maori of NZCER to facilitate the exchange of information and provide access to resources relating to Maori language and Maori education. The system was officially launched in May 1991, and runs on hardware supplied by IBM (NZ) Ltd. Te Wahapu is set up as an electronic bulletin board, with public access and e-mail links to other systems through FidoNet. However, it differs significantly from most other computer bulletin boards in two ways: there are several databases which may be queried on-line (including a regularly updated register of new and technical vocabulary in Maori), and all commands, menu items, and system prompts and messages are in Maori (English is available only through bilingual help screens). This presentation will outline some of the features of the system, the uses to which it has been put, plans for the future, and discuss the significance of information technology in the empowerment of indigenous peoples.