A kōrero with Taikawa of Ngāti Gaming! OHOOHO #2
OHOOHO is a new column by Te Pararē that is all about inserting te reo Māori into our everyday lives. We highlight innovative ways Māori are normalising te reo, making it accessible to more people by planting it in new spaces beyond the traditional.
I tēnei wiki ka kōrero māua ko Taikawa Tamati-Elliffe. Taikawa is a tuakana of mine from Ōtākou Marae (and Ngāti Scarfie hoki), who is now reconnecting Māori to their language and culture through gaming, by founding a rōpū called Ngāti Gaming.
Ko wai koe, nōhea koe?
Ko Te Atua o Taiehu te Mauka Ko Otakou te tai
Ko Otakou te Marae Ko Kai Tahu, Taranaki ka iwi Ko Taikawa Tamati-Elliffe ahau
Where and how did you learn te reo Māori?
I ako au i te kāika. Ko te reo māori tōku reo tuarua, i timata te ako e au 8 tau te pakeke. We learnt te reo māori by constructing vocab for things we did everyday. Eg. Softball, Art, Football, cooking ,science etc.
What is Ngāti Gaming in a nutshell?
Ngāti Gaming is a Māori focused social enterprise and gaming organisation.
Our aspirations are to create career pathways for Māori into the digital world. This is inclusive of the following: Esports, Game Development and Narrative design, Content creation, Graphic design, Animation, Streaming and more.
We are making strides towards having a Fluent speaking te reo Māori esport team on a international esports stage, essentially being the Māori All Blacks of esports.
We are providing free foundation level te reo Māori classes taught by qualified tertiary level teachers and using gaming as a tool to teach te reo Māori.
We have connected with over 500+ adults engaged in our kaupapa. Ngāti gaming is a safe place for us (Māori) by us, where any language or cultural questions whānau may have will be answered in a positive and informative manner.
We are very protective of our safe space and understand our whānau come from a vast variety of backgrounds. With that in mind we are working with navigators of Whānau Ora to ensure mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing is looked after.
We are an online community using Discord as our whānau hub (don't worry if you never used it we will provide support to enable you to engage).
What drew you to pursue this kaupapa, specifically through your platform of online gaming?
This kaupapa started with me and the Co-Founder Te Maire Aumua-Carrick playing a game called Apex Legends together. One night while gaming he asked if I can teach him more te reo Māori. I decided to teach him through gaming. I changed the vocab for this game and started having rūmaki jams with him where I only speak Māori.
How does Ngāti Gaming aim to normalise te reo Māori?
We are normalising the use of te reo Māori in gaming, creating the appropriate vocab for the content our community consumes. We also use discord as a whānau hub and voice chat platform where the community gathers for online events, to attend te reo Māori classes, to play games together and actively use what they're learning in class and use it in game.
What are your goals for the future of Ngāti Gaming?
Ngāti Gaming aspires to reconnect whānau to their culture in a new way. Our ultimate goal is having a fluent Māori speaking team on an international esports stage. Other goals include being role models to our people to show the value in pursuing digital careers.
What challenges do you or your kaupapa face?
We are trying to change the korero around the stigma of gaming, moving the mind frame of our gamers to treat gaming as a sport e.g. weekday training with a weekend game in a tournament layout.
How can people get involved with Ngāti Gaming or follow your kaupapa?
To celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Taikawa is a hosting a kōrero on how his new startup is inspiring revitalising of te reo māori using gaming as a platform and community. The kōrero is online and free to all via Twitch this Wednesday (15th Sept) at 5pm.
Check out the event here.