Te Aupōuri are one of the five iwi of Muriwhenua, also known as Te Hiku o te Ika a Māui, the Far North of Aotearoa. The people of Te Aupōuri share a number of well known ancestors with wider Muriwhenua and from these ancestors descend two families from which Te Aupōuri as an independent iwi trace their descent. ⠀
Te Aupōuri were originally known as Ngāti Ruānui. They were closely related to Te Rarawa, particularly through the marriage of Waimirirangi to Kairewa. Their daughter, Haere-ki-te-rā, was the ancestor of the Ngāti Ruānui chiefs, Whēru and Te Ikanui. Another daughter, Pare, along with her husband Te Rēinga and brother Tamatea, were important early leaders for the predecessors of Te Rarawa. Ngāti Ruānui dominated the Whāngāpē and Herekino harbours. Over time they came into conflict with their relations Ngāti Te Rēinga, Ngāti Kairewa, Ngāti Manawa and Ngāti Te Aewa. These four tribes were emerging as a strong unified group out of settlements at Motutī, Whakarapa and Motukauri on the northern shores of Hokianga Harbour.⠀
The two groups fought several battles in the Whāngāpē and Herekino harbours, and at Ahipara and Hukatere along Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē. During one of these battles, Te Ikanui and Whēru were besieged in their pā at Pawarenga on the Whāngāpē Harbour. One night they burned their possessions in order to create a screen of smoke, and then escaped unseen across the harbour. From then on Ngāti Ruānui were known as Te Aupōuri, from ‘au’ (current) and ‘pōuri’ (smoke or ash).⠀
The iwi of Te Aupōuri have their primary turangawaewae at Te Kao at the southern end of the Pārengarenga Harbour, with Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē (Ninety Mile Beach) to the west and Tokerau (Great Exhibition Bay) to the east.
Peter-Lucas has tribal affiliations to Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kahu, Te Rārawa, and Ngāi Takoto. He has a practical application of tikanga Māori and is a highly proficient speaker of te reo Māori. He is CEO of Te Hiku Media, the award-winning iwi broadcasting organisation and iwi innovation hub based in Kaitaia. He has led Te Hiku Media to create a suite of natural language processing (NLP) tools which enable the creation of new digital products and services that leverage te reo Māori speech recognition, speech to text system (audio transcription), text-to-speech (TTS), and other language tools.
The system represents the first time that automatic digital transcriptions have ever been available for te reo Māori, opening up a range of applications, from the transcription of archival audio recordings to the development of speech interfaces for computers. The speech to text system operates with a 10% error rate and the TTS (voice synthesis) algorithm is also a first for te reo Māori.
Peter-Lucas has a keen interest in data and ethics and led Te Hiku Media to develop the largest labelled and tagged Māori language corpus specifically created for Māori language NLP. He informed the development of the Kaitiakitanga Data Licence that Te Hiku Media use in strategic tech partnerships.
While recognising the importance of open source technology, Peter-Lucas is mindful that the majority of Tangata Whenua and other indigenous peoples may not have access to the resources that enable benefit from open source technologies. He understands Aotearoa’s marae and Māori communities and how many marae are at a digital disadvantage due to isolation. As a leader in iwi broadcasting, Peter-Lucas understands issues of digital exclusion and solutions associated with digital inclusion. When implementing digital inclusion strategies, he believes that both supply (infrastructure) and demand (digital literacy levels, environmental, training needs, ageing haukāinga marae population, rangatahi needs and socio-demographics) factors must be considered.
The proliferation of te reo Māori and Mātauranga Māori through content creation and distribution is key experience Peter-Lucas brings to the board. Through working closely with native speakers of te reo Māori, in the rohe of Te Hiku, Peter-Lucas has led the development of an iwi focussed digital platform for Māori language content management and live video streaming rangatahi events and haukāinga events in Te Taitokerau. Providing access to high-quality examples of te reo o ngā haukāinga o Te Hiku o Te Ika through regional broadcasting provides learners and second-language speakers the opportunity to model correct pronunciation, increase vocab comprehension and use, correct word-order and correct intonation of te reo Māori.
Peter-Lucas is also Chair of Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Reo Irirangi Māori (The National Iwi Radio Network), the society whose objective is the advancement of Māori radio communication, development and operations. The Māori radio network consists of 20 iwi radio stations that serve the Māori population.
Peter-Lucas is also a board member of Te Punaha Matatini which is a Centre of Research Excellence hosted by the University of Auckland. Te Pūnaha Matatini is a novel and exciting collaboration that brings together experts from the academic research community, industry, and government to develop the methods and tools that transform data into knowledge, providing insight for businesses, government, and communities.