It's been a big month for Pipi Ma creators Kristin Ross and Hohepa Tuahine, with plenty more on the horizon for the Rotorua pair.

The business, which makes dolls that speak and sing in te reo, won the People's Choice Award at the New Zealand Innovation Awards in Auckland last week.

It follows their Innovation Business Award at the 2017 Westpac Rotorua Business Excellence Awards earlier this month.

Read more: Rotorua business wins NZ Innovation award
Maori-speaking doll a hit for Kiwi parents


Ms Ross and Mr Tuahine said it was surreal and overwhelming, and they had not been expecting it.

They said they were grateful to everyone who voted for them and were cheering for them on the sidelines.

Ms Ross said the wins told them they were on the right track and were creating something people wanted.

"We are proud to be a Maori family that is pumping out the first bilingual dolls from the first bilingual city."

Work is now being done to launch a new doll range for people with minor to no grasp of te reo Maori, compared to the first range whose dialogue was designed for children in Maori-speaking homes.

The new range's job will be to teach people basic greetings.

The release of the first season for a cartoon Pipi Ma web series is also coming up in early December.

"In order for the language to survive everyone needs to buy into it and we need to feel some ownership over it in New Zealand and the biggest thing the language needs is first and foremost recognition - that can happen in the smallest forms."

Mr Tuahine said learning the Maori language was important because it gave New Zealand depth and was enriching for the country.


He said there could only be endless benefits of keeping the language alive, and to acknowledge the language was to acknowledge the people.

"I definitely think we have grown in the last 20 years and we are continuing to grow with momentum."

The pair are grateful to all those who have helped them along the way.

"We are getting all these accolades and attention for the work we've done, but there are so many people that have contributed to the success of Pipi Ma, and we want to acknowledge everyone who has been a part of making it the success it has become."