Indigenous | Technology

Corporate change award recognises indigenous impact at Microsoft

Isaac Morunga, at just 25 years old, has been named one of the latest recipients of the prestigious Matihiko Awards, which celebrate excellence and contributions across digital projects.

Morunga, a global chapter leader for Indigenous communities at Microsoft New Zealand, was awarded the Corporate Change Award for his impactful work in the industry.

“The organisation has been able to embrace kaupapa Māori but I’ve also been able to elevate indigenous voices,” he says.

In his fourth year at Microsoft, Morunga credits his mentor, Dan Te Whenua Walker, for inspiring his journey.

“He could drive projects around language revitalisation, digital inclusion, and turning te ao Māori into a platform that anyone can embrace with their whakapapa, iwi, hapū, and whānau,” said Morunga.

Elevating indigenous voices

The Matihiko Awards explore Māori excellence and contributions across a range of digital kaupapa (projects or initiatives). Unlike traditional awards that solely focus on cost or value, the Matihiko Awards emphasise contribution and impact.

Co-founder Katie Brown highlighted the importance of discussing the work being done within iwi and how technology was being used on marae across the motu.

“We want to talk about the mahi we are doing in our iwi and how we are using technology on our marae. It’s about ensuring our iwi have the same technical accessibility as others. That’s mahi rangatahi, and it speaks to our people a lot more,” Brown says.

Inspiration and mentorship

A strong, diverse lineup of Māori making significant contributions to te ao matihiko, digital and technology in Aotearoa and internationally, was recognised at the awards ceremony on Saturday, June 22 in Auckland.

Morunga is actively involved in reaching out to schools, working with local communities, and engaging with tangata whenua.