Te Hiringa Hauora
Kuini AI Chatbot
Kuīni is a casual, friendly chatbot here to help wāhine Māori kick their hikareti habit. She’s Artificial Intelligence that wants to make a difference, designed with and for wāhine Māori.
Te Hiringa Hauora (now a unit within Te Whatu Ora)
Research, Strategy, Design
The Health Promotion Agency wanted to take a new approach to support Māori women, especially hapū women, in their journey. The sensitive and targeted nature of the tool meant that the approach, content and design needed to instantly connect, engage and be relevant. For IDIA, this meant being culturally centred, open, and innovative. To ensure an authentic outcome that worked for our māori māmā, IDIA incorporated all 3 strands of their Culture Centred Design methodology.
Tangāta | People
Hapū māmā – we spent time with the women who would be using the tool. We heard their dreams, stresses, challenges and needs. We mapped their days – their relationships, interactions, communications, travels and opportunities for making change. We learned who they trusted and would listen to, the language and interactions that would resonate, and the concepts that would enable and empower them.
Māori writers – Coco Solid developed the script for Kuini. Coco is of Māori, Pacific and German heritage and is a writer, artist, director and producer. She created the animated television series Aroha Bridge, and is a writer for the Māori TV series, Ahikāroa. By having Coco on the project, we had a writer who could speak to other Māori women – understanding their needs, frustrations and life situations.
Māori designers – Miriame Barbarich led our research and design team, and Xoë Hall brought Kuini alive visually - illustrating multiple Kuini avatars to help connect Māori women to the tool.
Mātauranga | Knowledge
Data and research – HPA provided extensive research and statistical background to inform the design of the Kuini Chatbot. This ensured we had the clinical data and references to share with our māmā so they had context of the landscape and to ensure we provided clinical support for māmā through the engagement.
Innovation - we looked to the past for innovations that related to the kaupapa and considered concepts such as wananga, whanau support systems and rongoa.
Tikanga | Working in ways that work for māmā Māori
We ensured that the tool was grounded in the protocols, principles and processes that were relevant to māmā. We took into account their levels of cultural engagement, their openness to approaches relating to the maramataka and the Whare Tapa Wha Maori well being models and other concepts.
We also took the time to understand the cultural and social context in which the māmā live their lives. This included understanding their level of cultural connection, their families, relationships and influencers, their living environment, and their regular activities and interactions. We also took into account Te Ao māori and colonisation contexts that related to the kaupapa.
As a team we created a 30-day engagement plan. Hapū māmā signed up via Facebook Messenger to the Kuini chatbot and were engaged in a supported relationship where they set the times for engagement and Kuini contacted them, chatted to them, distracted them, educated them and supported them. The project team scripted every interaction – incorporating things the māmā wanted support with, clinical research, Māori mātauranga and concepts, and all inline with the busy daily schedules of māmā. We incorporated Te Reo Māori and mixed up the language with various levels of everyday, street and Māori idioms and kiwaha.
Kuini was also brought to life with avatar illustrations – providing a range of unique, strong, modern Māori wahine characters for the māmā to associate with and communicate through. Kuini also sent the māmā real world physical treats to acknowledge milestones – with branded journals, drink bottles, keepcups and other collateral.
Technically Kuini is a chatbot, utilising machine learning technology, to enhance the engagement process and inform the evolution of the quit smoking support channel. Kuini was successfully prototyped with two hapū māmā cohort with the response being highly supportive of the tool and asking for more conversations, distractions and Māori centric content.