Digital colonialism and the hidden issues for Maori today
One of the most remote Māori communities in Aotearoa gets broadband Internet says Te Karere. I suspect this will have a number of cultural implications that has yet to be considered.
Ruatahuna is not unique for this as it has happened numerous times in rural and urban areas by non Māori organisations and government pushing technology into communities with no understanding about tikanga or community needs.
In the Te Karere story, the most obvious concern expressed was about people not meeting in person any more in the Ruatahuna area. But a kaumatua stated that it would be ok as the world is changing. I agree with this part and think that Ruatahuna and any rural community that has the Internet introduced to it will adapt technology to allow for remote access to hui and maybe even tangi and a host of other uses. But just as the same kaumatua states, the world has come to Ruatahuna. I would say the world has been pushed into Ruatahuna with no considerations for the protection of the people.
While we have the organisation NetSafe who cater to protecting the public from cyber crimes, bullying etc, but NetSafe are not equipped to deal with tikanga Māori issues that occur online or even with Māori victims in a culturally sensitive manner.
The government appointed Nga Pu Waea (now defunct) whose objective it was to push broadband accessibility into Māori rural areas should have been the leader in this area, yet they had no consideration or understanding of the implications of technology on tikanga.
The national 2020 Communications Trust whose objectives it is to put computers in homes whose main families they support are Māori also has no understanding for technology abuse on tikanga Māori. The trust have had a positive impact on whanau employment and education while offering protection from some Internet nasties.
I fear that the youth of Ruatahuna and any other rural area in the same situation will face all of the same cyber issues of phishing, bullying, scams, fraud, sexting, pornography and manipulation and there will be no support for them, which is typical for anyone in the cities, but the remoteness and staunch tikanga Māori values could have more detrimental effects that are not yet known or perhaps research has already documented the effects from colonial impacts on our culture?