Lee Timutimu is helping to revitalise the tradition of cultural storytelling, literally one step at a time.
The Tauranga local has merged his knowledge of IT with his passion for Māori storytelling and created a guided walking app called Arataki.
The app provides an audio narration of the culturally significant sites around Mauao and Timutimu said more locations would be added to the platform from around the Bay of Plenty and New Zealand.
Around 500 people had downloaded the app since it was launched in August 2017, helping them to learn more about Māori place names, landmarks, stories, proverbs and history.
Timutimu said the upside to using Arataki was that users had to physically go to the site to unlock the information to learn about the area.
"There is no other experience like being at the location. Taking in the atmosphere, the sounds and listening to the birds," Timutimu said.
The app uses proximity technology and GPS which meant once the user was close enough to the site, they would unlock the information.
Beacons were placed at eight culturally significant locations, five around the base track of Mauao and three off the mountain, which the app connected to.
The content of the app was written for a user who was non-Māori and who had never been to Tauranga before, something Timutimu said was "very digestible" and easy to use.
Initially, the target audience for the app was international tourists such as cruise ship passengers but Timutimu said over time more domestic visitors and locals were downloading.
"We have had feedback that a lot of locals are learning stories about the area they never realised. It's a fantastic learning tool."
Timutimu said working with local iwi was vital in creating content for the app.
"Everything you hear and experience is based on our research and information gathered from local iwi, so we consider ourselves caretakers of cultural information."
Nga Poutiriao o Mauao was a joint board made up of Tauranga City Council councillors and iwi representatives, and chairman Dean Flavell said the Arataki app provided an insight into the stories local iwi had always shared.
"For Maori, it is natural to be raised and taught our connections to the moana, whenua and certainly our maunga," he said.
He said Timutimu and the Arataki app were an example of a local iwi business that helped deliver the aspiration of local iwi.