Microsoft unveils Aotearoa keyboard in new Windows 11

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By Will Trafford from Maori television

Microsoft adopts te reo Māori and the name Aotearoa in the new version of the Windows operating system.

Windows 11 has an Aotearoa keyboard, which increases the availability of macron for vowels by default.

By pressing and holding the tilde key ‘~’ (upper left corner of the keyboard), before entering a vowel, the macron will be added seamlessly to the letter.

The functionality of using the tilde key for macrons existed before Windows 11, but in the past it was clunky.

“Users had to either switch between English Maori and New Zealand keyboards or copy and paste a vowel with a macron from another document or online,” a Microsoft representative told Te Ao Māori News.

The company claims the new keyboard is a labor of love from Microsoft kaimahi Dan Walker (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Maniapoto, Tūhourangi, Ngāti Kahungunu) and linguistics professional Ellie Greenly.

“The two have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to enhance the diversity of Aotearoa’s tech sector and bring free Maori te reo interfaces to the technology Kiwis use every day.

Microsoft NZ’s Vanessa Sorenson says the keyboard is part of a larger focus on the company’s Maori.

“This represents the last step in the work we have done alongside cultural and linguistic advisers over the past 15 years to support te reo Māori.”

“It’s about encouraging Kiwis to learn and engage in the language every day. The Aotearoa Keyboard will make it easier for millions of Windows users across Aotearoa and around the world to write in te reo Māori, removing the barriers people currently face in expressing themselves. in our native language. It’s huge. she said.

In 2019, Microsoft worked with indigenous software company Piki Studios to create a Te Ao Māori learning environment called Ngā Motu in its Minecraft sandbox video game.

Microsoft claims that the game, along with Pā, Waka Hourua and even Moa and Kiwi, is used by educational institutions across the motu.

Windows 11 was released yesterday as a free upgrade for all existing Windows 10 users.


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