Windows 11 features a new Aotearoa keyboard for Māori natives

Alexandru Poloboc
by Alexandru Poloboc
News Editor
With an overpowering desire to always get to the bottom of things and uncover the truth, Alex spent most of his time working as a news reporter, anchor, as well as TV and radio... Read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Microsoft decided to add new functions to its virtual keyboard.
  • This will actually boost macron availability for vowels as default.
  • Thus, the new Aotearoa keyboard is dedicated to Māori natives.
  • Credit for this work goes to the Microsoft New Zeeland team.
windows 11 maori keyboard

Much toward user delight, Microsoft is embracing the Reo Māori and the name Aotearoa in the new version of the Windows operating system.

This new addition thought of by Redmond officials actually boosts macron availability for vowels as default.

By pressing and holding the tilde key ~, located in the top left corner of the keyboard, before entering a vowel, the macron will be seamlessly added to the letter.

Pretty neat, right?

New keyboard options for the new OS

It’s important to mention that the functionality of using the tilde key for macrons existed before Windows 11 but was pretty clumsy in the past if we remember correctly.

Users either had to switch between the Māori and New Zealand English keyboards or copy and paste a vowel with a macron from another document or online.

We can all see how that could get really old, really fast, thus the immense need for this type of change.

The Redmond tech company says that the new keyboard is a labour of love by Microsoft kaimahi Dan Walker (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Maniapoto, Tūhourangi, Ngāti Kahungunu) and linguistics professional Ellie Greenly.

Both have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to improve the diversity of Aotearoa’s tech sector and bring free the Reo Māori interfaces to the technology Kiwis use every day.

Vanessa Sorenson, of Microsoft New Zeeland, says the keyboard is part of a broader focus on te ao Māori at the company.

It represents the latest milestone in the work we’ve been doing alongside cultural and language advisers for the past 15 years to support te Reo Māori.

It’s about encouraging Kiwis to learn and engage with each other in the language every day. The Aotearoa keyboard will enable millions of Windows users around Aotearoa and the world to write more easily in te reo Māori, removing the barriers people currently face to expressing themselves in our indigenous language. That’s huge.

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

Redmond sources say the game, complete with Pā, Waka Hourua and even Moa and Kiwi, is used by learning institutions across the motu.

So, even more reasons to be excited about the new operating system, while you wait for it to make its way into your home.

Remember that the giant rollout process for the free OS started yesterday, and will continue throughout this year, all the way up to mid-2022.

Happy with Windows 11 so far? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments section below.

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