Lenovo and AMD have announced the launch of a keyboard that features a bilingual design which allows users to seamlessly write in te reo Māori and English.
The keyboard features keys for macrons or tohutō, [the small lines placed above certain vowels in te reo Māori]. In Te Reo, macrons are essential indicators that aid in interpreting the pronunciation and significance of a word.
The idea for the keyboard came from Lenovo New Zealand Country Manager, Libby Macgregor's 8-year-old son Felix, who was learning Te Reo in school and questioned why there wasn't hardware available to support his learning.
"Felix came home one day and asked me 'Mum, why can't I find the keys on the keyboard to type in te reo Māori?' It was then I realized we didn't have the hardware to make this as easy as it should be," said Macgregor.
"Lenovo has an incredible Product Diversity Office, and it was in consultation with this team we created something that could support the learning and use of te reo Māori."
New Zealanders aged 15-34 are the most likely age group to speak more than a few words or phrases in te reo Māori, demonstrating the importance of learning when younger.
The bilingual keyboard is available on select ThinkPad and Education laptops available through Lenovo's commercial channels for use in businesses and learning environments, such as schools and universities.
Lenovo plans to release the device to consumer customers at a later, yet-to-be-determined date.