He riri tā te tawa uho, he riri tā te tawa para
Te reo Māori (the Māori language) is the life-force of what it means to be Māori, and embedded in the language is Māori knowledge, customs and culture. However, the health of the language was significantly compromised in the 19th and 20th centuries and “declined steeply over the past 100 years” (Te Puni Kōkiri, 2004, p.11). Despite considerable efforts made towards strengthening the language's health, te reo Māori (the Māori language) remains in a vulnerable position. This is where intervention into language loss plays an important role in the language's maintenance, revitalisation, and survival.
Mobile-learning (m-learning) can be viewed as an avenue to exploit for facilitating Māori language transmission and, accordingly, contribute to the revitalisation and maintenence of the language. M-learning, defined as "the exploitation of ubiquitous handheld technologies, together with wireless and mobile phone networks, to facilitate, support, enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning” (Northampton College, n.d, para.3), can occur anytime, anywhere. The research situates m-learning within the contexts of Māori language revitalisation and Māori language transmission with reference to kaupapa Māori (Māori ideology) values and whakataukī (proverbial saying/s).
He riri tā te tawa uho, he riri tā te tawa para which features as the title is a whakataukī that addresses the different genres of Māori language, of language transmission and of language revitalisation. Whakataukī - which is one example of a Māori language genre - play an important role in the research by providing a philosphical underpinning and guiding philosophy for the research. M-learning as a possible avenue or genre of Māori language transmission is also situated within the philosophies of selected whakataukī. These whakataukī affirm the importance of the Māori language, its well-being and the necessary role of intervention into language loss for the maintenance and survival of the Māori language. The guiding principles for the study therefore come from a Māori perspective and the research is grounded in Kaupapa Māori Research Theory.
M-learning's role and validity in the facilitation of Māori language transmission and revitalisation is assessed and considerations that should be made to protect and respect the mauri (essence, life-force) and mana (integrity) of the Māori language, and deliver it responsibly in the m-learning arena are highlighted. This includes proposing He Rākau: a model, a guideline based on the research findings for those who wish to create Māori language m-learning resources with respect to the language and tikanga Māori.
The Māori language is the poutokomanawa (the centre pole) of mana Māori (Māori prestige) and therefore Māori people need to "take control of the future destiny of the language and to plan for its survival" (Government Review Team, 1988, p.18).