Regional | Māori

Opening the tech industry to Northland kura kaupapa Māori

The push to get Northland Kura Kaupapa Māori students into the technology sector is gaining momentum with the launch of TechStep Ngāwhā, a tech expo designed to establish pathways for these students within the industry.

Hosted at the Ngāwhā Innovation & Enterprise Park, the TechStep Ngāwhā event targets ākonga (students) from Kura Kaupapa Māori in Te Tai Tokerau, encouraging them to explore the diverse opportunities available in the world of technology.

According to Regan Haika from Tai Tokerau Trades Training, getting kura kids into the industry is important.

“The biggest thing that I think they get from this day is just having their mind and eyes opened to so many possibilities that are out there and just here in Te Tai Tokerau as well; you don’t need to move off to Auckland.”

The skills needed to succeed in the tech industry mean kids will need to go to university to study programming, data science, and software development. Haika says it’s a must that kura kaupapa Māori provide students with classes that will allow those students interested in the tech industry to follow their dreams.

“We’ve targeted the year 9s and 10s before they get into their subject selection so, if this is something they are interested in, they align all their subjects correctly, so they can make it their correct pathway.”

Roberta Pedro, the skills and employment coordinator at Ngāwhā, highlights the under-representation of Māori in the tech industry, especially in areas like AI and robotics.

“Because we are underrepresented as Māori in the technology fields, in the AI space, in the technology realm, I think it’s really important for our Māori and Pacific Island kura kids to be exposed to the possibilities.”