Hack Tairawhiti taking tech to the regions

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

New Zealand's international business development agency NZTE is on a mission to help build 100 Māori tech companies by 2023. Tina Wehipeihana-Wilson of NZTE says tech will surpass the dairy industry in the next two and half years and that tech will play a vital role in improving Māori prosperity.

Wehipeihana-Wilson says it's about connecting regional Māori to the tech venture ecosystem, “That's where our people are so we want to make sure that we're getting our technology and resources out to the regions so that we're not having to relocate people in order to allow them to be the best that they can be.”

NZTE is leading Hack Tairāwhiti, an event to bring Māori tech companies together with top talent within the industry.

Executive Director of Te Tira Toi Whakangao, Barry Soutar says, “The aim of the initiative is, “To come together in Gisborne to learn and develop their businesses and develop software skills.”

Twelve global Māori tech companies will take part and work with senior developers, creatives, design thinkers and leading business representatives.

Soutar says, “Those who are coming to take part, they will select teams to tackle the issues put forward by those Māori companies.”

“Tech is probably going to be the one thing that's allows us to really surpass and commit to the rest of the world based on our location, we're a long long way from everywhere but tech is that one thing that actually crosses that divide,” says Wehipeihana-Wilson.

Hack Tairāwhiti is being led by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) in conjunction with Te Tira Toi Whakangao (T3W), together with support from Datacom, global Māori tech companies and Māori sector investors.

Soutar says that there is potential to create 2,000 high-value jobs, operating from 50 regional tech hubs in Māori communities, with $200 million of capital investment into Māori venturing.

Hack Tairāwhiti is a 48 hour Hackathon on the 18th - 20th of May 2018 as part of TechWeek 2018.