Maori not so advanced with technology

I had the pleasure of having coffee with the chair of the Vanuatu Internet Society and executive member of the Pacific Islands Internet Society in Christchurch yesterday, at a cafe over looking Sumner beach and the estuary.

During our hour long coffee, and hearing what Vanuatu and other Pacific Islands are doing to increase their capacity for ICT, i felt a little embarrassed at what Maori have done.

For many years government officials and other people in the community sector keep talking about how advanced Maori are with ICT compared to our PI family. Well!, as a long time Maori ICT advocate i say we need to re evaluate and ensure that our government officials are made aware of how far behind we really are.

We have organisations with the ability to make a change in NZ for our rural communities and our Maori communities, but these organisations obviously think that same myth that many of us have, that NZ and Maori are leading the indigenous ICT world. So, these organisations choose to gift tens of thousands of dollars to our PI family to assist them with technology, while neglecting the issues at our own back door step.

Maybe as a group, Maori have become complacent in regards to ICT, or perhaps we have overcome so many cultural hurdles over the past 7 years, that we are now in a position to move forward at the same rate as our PI family.

My personal feeling is that we have some real Maori ICT leaders who if collaborated, would take Maori to a whole new level (after serious contemplation i can think of 7), many of whom choose to represent themselves or need to be paid for their opinions, or are constrained by the universities that they work for. My fear is that in todays society, many Maori advocates may not be as passionate as they once were in fear of being targeted a terrorist as i know at least one online advocate has been.

Of those seven, one is a Dr, a phd student, an ICT consultant, management consultant, a Telecommunications engineer and two are community advocates fighting at the coal face of the issues. Again, from those seven, all of them reside on influential boards representing Maori, often in with their own opinions. If all seven could agree on the way forward, Maori ICT would have a “Dream Team” representing them at many key decision areas. Coupled with a prominent leader and a political party would ensure quick success for Maori ICT development.

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