Te Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe goes high-tech this Easter

A partnership with Vodafone means Tūhoe festival organisers and volunteers will have access to a range of connected devices. This will help staff communicate with each other at this year's Te Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe.

Tablets, smartphones and a fast mobile network will be provided, making the festival a high-tech affair this Easter.

The biannual three day festival comprises kapa haka, cultural debates, sports events, food stalls and much more. It kicks off on Easter Friday and ends with a whānau concert on Sunday night. 

The new technology will help staff manage the festival timetable more effectively. Vodafone will give local vendors the choice to use alternative payment methods, such as Eftpos. 

Te Komiti o Runga spokesperson, Patrick McGarvey says, “By working closely with Vodafone, they recognise there will be a significant number of people coming into the region for the festival and have agreed to boost the capacity of the local Rūātoki cell site to accommodate the needs of the community. 

More than 20,000 people attend the festival and it is the prime time for Tūhoe descendants near and far to return home. 

“A reliable telecommunications network is very important to us. Not only does it enable us to carry out our mahi more efficiently, it gives the community the chance to freely share their Tūhoe Ahurei festival experience in real time with whānau across the world on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter,” says McGarvey.  

Vodafone spokesperson Caitlin Metz said the Rūātoki cell site was built as part of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), which is a partnership between Vodafone, Chorus and the Government to bring great connectivity services to kiwis living in rural areas.  

McGarvey adds, “It is remarkable how our communication behaviours have developed since the Rūātoki tower has been active. People of all ages are now texting and interacting on social media, and we can stay up to date with news.