Indigenous | Rangatahi

Māori wahine in pursuit of excellence in the technology world, led by her ancestors

Aleisha Amohia of Te Āti Haunui a Pāpārangi and co-president of the Wellington Branch of the National Council of Women New Zealand is a finalist for the NZ Impact Awards for contributing a young, Māori, Asia and female lens to Aotearoa's gender equity movement, and other diversity and inclusion initiatives.

"You know our tūpuna were innovators, explorers, and discoverers and so we should really just tap into that side of ourselves and go out and be willing to learn," she says.

Amohia became interested in technology at 15. She conquered a science degree in AI and became a programme developer. Her journey has also led her to the Māori Design Group.

"I get to work with the incredible Tā Pou Tēmara which is just like such an honour. We work with Whetu Fala, Joe Maraki, and Hone Paul as well so, they're just awesome names, and I'm learning from them all the time I get to work with them."

With limited brown faces in the tech industry, she credits her father for helping her stay committed.

She says diversity is a big issue in the tech industry and the momentum has to keep going because the world needs diverse voices to create the products that people use every day.

"I'm still very much a minority as a young brown woman in the tech industry," Amohia says.

Amohia urges rangatahi interested in the tech industry, to be brave and let the example left by ancestors guide them.

"That's what kind of gets me up is knowing that the work that I'm doing and the work that the organisations I belong to are doing is hopefully going to shape a future where young girls don't have to wake up and feel different when they walk into the room and they can just get on and do their mahi and feel good about that."

"It's a real honour to be named among all of these incredible people."

Impact Awards winners will be announced on July 30.