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Oct 07, 2021

Pasifika students design website to help NZ pronounce names correctly

Many people have gone through life having the odd person mispronounce our name and while it may be easy to brush it off once, listening to it constantly is a challenge for students.

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That’s partly why 10 students from Bishop Viard College in Porirua have created a website designed to help people correctly pronounce Māori and Pasifika names.

The website, named Fa'amalosi [be strong] , has been up and running for just over two weeks and its two CEOs, year 12 students To'e Lokeni and Mannfred Sofara, told Breakfast on Thursday morning they weren’t offended when their names were mispronounced but the contrast of hearing it said correctly was special.

“It brings respect to the name that was given to me by my parents,” Lokeni said.

“My name came from my mum’s dad – they named me after him.”

Sofara, who said he was named after his father’s German friend back in Samoa, said the website has a one-off $4.99 subscription fee but the fee gives unlimited access to their forever.

“We have six cultures on our website at the moment,” Sofara said.

“We have Te Reo Māori, Samoan, Tokelau, Tonga, Kiribati and Cook Island.  We have 800 names now and we’re looking to add more.

“You can listen and learn from our communities and also use the phonetic wording that we’ve added too.

Watch the full report here.