Māori tech can grow but needs cultivation

By Stefan Dimitrof

Figures from Auckland Unlimited, an economic and cultural agency, have found Māori and Pasifika employees are under-represented across digital tech industries.

And women only account for 32% of the region's tech workforce.

Game developer of two years Morgana Watson (Te Atiawa) of Taranaki said that she has experienced that bat conferences and on panels, Māori account for a small demographic, and said "it's indicative of the entire industry”.

Watson said the tech industry was an amazing opportunity for young rangatahi who could connect with the “few and far between Māori tech innovators”.

She said as a wahine in the tech industry, "the challenge comes from the content and the interactive media and the products coming out of the tech industry is only reflective of a certain demographic and sometimes doesn’t apply to half the world, that being wahine”.

Watson said there are other demographics that also need to be addressed such as indigenous, the LGBQT+ community, tangata huā or disabled communities and she finds that a lot of what is released doesn’t apply to those people.

Watson said that some of the barriers for Māori were Māori being seen in roles in the tech industry. “Our next generations and present generations need to see Māori in these roles.”

“The public needs to see we do have Māori tech innovators in the industry and the barriers I feel are foundation level, that our rangatahi, our taiohi and young adults need to believe they can be in this industry and be part of it, advance it and be a part of that evolution”.