Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the origins of Hika?

The Hika language learning methodology was developed by Sophie Tauwehe Tamati, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland. From the outset it has been Sophie’s goal to revitalise te reo Māori by making it easier and faster to learn.

Hika started when Sophie and her cousin Liz spent hours in their garage cutting up little coloured English / Māori text cards to use to teach te reo Māori. These are now represented by the coloured text tiles of the Hika App.

Who is in the Hika Group?

Hika Group Ltd is a group of friends and whānau who come from 7 different families representing 7 different native languages (English, Māori, Chinese, Irish, Samoan, Cook Islands and Nuiean). Our experts and their families, who come from these 7 indigenous perspectives, have pooled their time, talents skills and funds to create the Hika technology.

Is it true that King Tuheitia is involved somehow?

Yes, we know how important language preservation is to our King and he brings his aroha and passion to revitalise te reo Māori for us all to pass on to our next generations.

What is Hika Group aiming to achieve?

We’re hoping our translation-communication products will bring people together so using Hika to invigorate te reo Māori is our first priority and central to our commitment to revitalise the language for Māori along with all other ethnicities in AotearoaNZ. The Hika technology platform is designed for the global market and we believe that Hika can be used to connect people and to unite our nation. Just imagine what Hika can do to bring international peoples together! That’s our goal, that’s what we’re really about.

What new products are coming and when?

The Hika team are constantly innovating and developing new language packs for specific audiences. The latest initiatives include a language pack for Early Childhood Education. Get in touch if you know of a group who could benefit from a tailored Hika language pack.

How did the Vodafone partnership come about?

Vodafone was Hika’s first choice as a global company with a passion and vision to connect to people in their communities. Our Hika’s slogan is ‘Languages Connecting People’ so the partnership with Vodafone is an easy fit. With Vodafone as our channel to market, we can offer te reo Māori to AotearoaNZ and beyond, ie to our whānau living in Aussie, London and elsewhere. Once we’ve achieved that, other languages, like Hawaiian, Mandarin, Spanish and Hindi are on our radar. Look the list just goes on...

How has Hika been tested?

Hika was trialled with around 2,500 children in Primary schools across Auckland and it was the feedback of the teachers in those schools that helped us to further improve and refine the functions of the Hika technology. Hika was also trialled with senior academic staff of the University of Auckland at the Faculty of Education and their feedback helped us to make the final refinements to the Hika product range.

Feedback are you interested in that?

Absolutely! That’s how we’ve got to where we are today so we know it works. We want to know how we can continue to improve the Hika technology and the ‘Hika experience’.

Is there a risk that you’ll be seen selling the Te Reo language?

The Hika / Vodafone partnership allows us to Koha, or give as a free gift, the first 50,000 downloads of the Hika Lite app and wherever possible we want to continue to koha our Hika Māori products to New Zealanders.

Is Hika patented?

Patents have been applied for as a reference point for us going forward with a focus on our future. We have our patent published in a number of countries.

Who owns the Hika copyright?

All our language systems and functionality is Hika Group Limited’s copyright.

Other languages, which ones and why and when do we see these?

While we’re excited about our Hika Māori product range, we’re also excited about our Hika Mandarin range which we hope to launch later in the year. Imagine all the choices Hika can provide, we’ve already got English to Māori, followed by English to Mandarin and then Māori to Mandarin. It’s important to us that our Hika Mandarin products can empower our country’s exporters / importers to appreciate and respect Chinese tikanga (cultural protocols).

Who builds these for you and how do you know they are correctly done?

We build it all with our linguists providing the professional expertise on how to ‘hikarize’ the target language ie Mandarin, Spanish, Hindi, and our technical team to provide the technological expertise for the development of products.

Who developed the Hika software and apps?

Gravitate Limited are our development team and they are excellent young technologists. We are continuing to build and expand our systems and our capability to keep up with new and developing technologies.

How many years has it been in incubation?

The conceptual development and then prototype build took 2 years. Then followed 2 years of trials in Primary schools and University with the greatest level of innovation to rebuild the technology platform for this Launch occurring in the last 18 months.

What sets you apart from the rest?

For me, it’s the relationships that we’ve developed as much as our team skills and expertise that sets us apart. That’s the real IP. We all bring complimentary pieces to the table, the platform, our partnership with Vodafone as a company with 400 million customers globally, our whānau, friends and supporters as well as our commitment to bringing real value to our customers.

From a design and technology perspective, Hika has been built in such a way that allows many 10s of thousands of phrases to be constructed, on the fly, without the need for Internet connectivity or associated data roaming charges. The Hika approach to 'chunking' is a big step on from the traditional phrasebook approach as it puts the user in control of constructing the phrase they need.