Cultural centre spokesperson Kiri Atkinson-Crean said on stuff.co.nz: “All they could use were expressions and symbols from other countries.
“We wanted to give them another form of this language for an opportunity to express themselves.”
She added on Radio New Zealand: “Although we were keen to wait until they were available to download to officially launch them, they have taken on a life of their own.
“We are absolutely blown away by the social media response we’ve experienced, so it seems only fair to share a few more of the details.”
According to the BBC: “Along with more usual ideas and emotions, the 150-character keyboard will also reflect Maori-specific concepts such as moves of the ritual haka warrior dance, as well as flax skirt, outrigger canoe and whanau – the term for the extended family typical of traditional Maori social organisation.
“There’ll also be a small number of animated gifs, including one for pukana – a fierce expression with stuck-out-tongue used during the haka.”