Māori Maps, the website portal to the 773 tribal marae of New Zealand, is now easily accessible on phones, tablets and other mobile devices.
A major redevelopment of www.maorimaps.com over the past six months culminates in the official relaunch of the site this Monday 16 January.
The revised, responsive design enables browsers to locate marae easily on any device – and adds features including links to marae that are adjacent or related by whakapapa to the marae being searched.
Greater prominence is now given to images of the marae, most of which were taken by renowned photographer Krzysztof Pfeiffer.
The site’s Google Maps base now displays a cluster symbol featuring the number of marae in a given area, and zooming in further on the map begins to reveal the details of individual marae.
Alongside key information and driving directions for each marae, where available there is also data supplied by Chorus to indicate Internet accessibility.
The redevelopment was enabled by a generous donation by The Tindall Foundation to Te Potiki National Trust, the registered charity that administers Māori Maps.
“We are indebted to The Tindall Foundation for their support, which means that users of all media can now locate and link to the ancestral marae of Aotearoa,” commented Dr Paora Tapsell, Chair of Te Potiki National Trust.
“Having a site that displays well on mobile phones is especially important, and will help our varied users to find their way to marae across the country.”
The Auckland-based Te Potiki National Trust aims to reconnect young Māori – the ‘potiki’ generation – to their ancestral identities, while helping marae communities to become more visible and self-sustaining.
“Developing a sense of identity is vital to the well-being of young Māori today, and can help with the many challenges they face in urban New Zealand,” Tapsell said.
At the same time marae themselves, many of which rely on declining populations of elders to keep going, need to connect more closely to their descendants as well as visitors and supporters.
“The Internet is providing an alternative avenue for iwi, hapū and whānau to connect, as seen by the numerous Facebook pages for marae that are referenced on our site,” he noted.
Te Potiki National Trust is now working to complete the full translation of the site into Te Reo and to publish a guidebook to marae, while developing social programmes to reconnect young Māori with their marae.