You can’t deny that Fortnite is a cultural phenomenon – for better or worse, it’s bought gaming further into the mainstream conversation. But thanks to a crafty streamer in New Zealand, it’s also teaching te reo Māori.
New Zealand streamer Ross McDougall has recreated the location names on the Fortnite map in te reo Māori; or “The Language”. McDougall tells Stuff.co.nz that his intention is to normalise the language by capitalising on popularity, “My intention with creating a te reo Māori Fortnite map was to normalise the use of te reo Māori in a way that would be appealing to many.” Some of the location renames include “Tuamata Kukua” (Haunted Hills), “Puhara Titaha” (Tilted Towers) and “Rarangi Toa” (Retail Row).
According to a 2013 census report, it’s reported about 3.7% of the New Zealand population (149,000 people) could conduction a conversation in Māori. With Fortnite hitting around 125 million consecutive players, I think it’d be cool to hear the squad debating whether to drop in Waro Tiripa (Shifty Shafts) or Roto Parakete (Loot Lake) and learning more about the te reo Māori language.
Update: Ross contacted The Influence to let us know about the great initiative that Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is doing with Fortnite. Through the whole of September, they’re looking to use Fortnite to normalise the te reo Māori language. They partnered with Let’s Play Live to hold a livestream with two te reo fluent gamers and Twizz from Mindfreak, updated the latest Fortnite map with new te reo location names, and even offer a handy guide on what to say during a Fortnite match so you can tell your squad, “me whai rawa ahua!”
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) September 12, 2018