Emotiki, world's first Māori emojis, launch

Maori emoji emotiki
The Emotiki app is free to download on smartphones and tablets.

By Ella Prendergast

Hāngi, Tiki and Māori wardens joined the digital age this morning as part of the first-ever Maori emoji range.

'Emotiki' includes more than 200 free Māori icons that can be shared through iPhone, Android or social media apps.

The emoji range, developed by Rotorua cultural attraction Te Puia, was supposed to launch in July but faced delays.

Poi, Pūkana expressions, crayfish and a Marae are all included, and Te Puia are already welcoming new suggestions.

General manager of sales and marketing Kiri Atkinson-Crean got the idea while watching her kids congratulate people after a kapa haka festival.

"They were using emojis from anywhere else in the world but from their own culture, so I thought it was an opportunity to create cool little icons that they can start using from their own culture.

"We wanted to give people, particularly our young people, another way to express themselves."

The Te Arawa tribe and Māori elders were a big part of the design process to get "a true reflection of who we are", Mrs Atkinson-Crean said.

"A huge amount of work has gone on behind the scenes."

Marketing manager Eruera West said they've had mixed reactions but Wednesday's release is only a preview of what's to come.

"We promised people something before Christmas so it's just a start. Everyone loves emojis but they want them more integrated and we totally agree."

For the latest Apple update iOS10, the Emotiki app also includes a sticker pack, which can be used in iMessage, similar to the most well-known emoji stickers.

Newshub.