Technology event hopes to inspire Māori youth

Ten of the top Māori technology innovators presented at an event in Rotorua in an effort to get more Māori youth into the tech industry. 

Māui Hangarau hopes to break barriers that hold Māori back from technology and innovation.

Hangarau aims to capture the hearts and minds of rangatahi with an interest in digital innovation.

Lee Timutimu, co-organiser of the event says, “As Māori we are innovators we are disruptive thinkers, we've creators, we are hands on practical so it's already engrained in our DNA, engrained in our genealogy.” 

The event features some of the best Māori technologists, innovators and entrepreneurs working around the world.

“There is definitely an interest with in Māoridom in terms of this being a feasible pathway, we know this because we see Māori tech entrepreneurs that are successful in their own right.” 

Technology and innovation experts say Māori and Pasifika ancestors were technologically advanced because they sailed across the planet using the stars and oceans.

But today there's a growing gap between Māori and Pacific youth in technology.

Dougal Stott of Enspiral Dev Academy says, “At the start of this year you may able to count the amount of software developers on one hand.  By the end of 2018, all going to plan, we would have graduated 30 junior Māori software developers that are out in the world.” 

Theresa Rondon-Harvey, who attended the event with her son, says, “It's very important now, today, that the younger generation and the education system combine together and work in technology, including helping to get funding for our rangatahi, marae, hapū, iwi and whānau across the board.” 

Organisers of the event say they will lobby the government for funding to ensure these types of events continue in an effort to get more Māori into the industry.