16 November 2023 at 11:00 am

Aotearoa New Zealand Indigenous led Education Technology

New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, together with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Australia and Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao, recently collaborated to bring the Aotearoa International Whare to life at the SXSW Conference in Sydney. 

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Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, this was the first time South by Southwest® (SXSW®) has been hosted in the South Pacific. Taking place from 15 to 20 October, the conference celebrated the convergence of technology, film, music, education, and culture. 

With kaupapa Māori at the heart of the Aotearoa Whare, Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ) was asked to support a showcase of Aotearoa Indigenous Education Technology (EdTech) companies in a panel conversation. Represented on the panel were four EdTech Founders who whakapapa Māori, from TŌNUI Collab based in Te Tairāwhiti (Gisborne), Tiaki Global based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington), Code Avengers based in Waikato (Hamilton) and ARA Journeys based in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). 

The theme of Aotearoa NZ Indigenous-led Education Technology was explored by this group of Māori owned companies. Their initiatives have indigenous researchers, designers, and content developers creating innovative digital learning experiences for indigenous learners, their whānau and communities, and learning experiences for non-indigenous learners that draw on indigenous knowledge and know-how. 

From left to Right – Duane Grace – Tiaki Global, Amber Taylor – ARA Journeys, Shanon O’Connor – Tōnui Collab, Hamish Day – Code Avengers.

Adrienne Bonell, Public Diplomacy Manager, MFAT said that it was a fascinating panel, expertly moderated by Duane Grace (Tiaki Global). 

“The passion, smarts and energy Shanon O’Connor, Amber Taylor, and Hamish Day contributed as panellists on this vital kaupapa was palpable in the room. 

It was obvious the crowd felt the same given the number of pātai  (questions) and that we ran out of time in the end, said Adrienne.  

Supporting our Māori and Pasifika EdTech community is essential for the New Zealand education sector, as it enriches our curriculum with diverse perspectives and aligns to our community values. It also enhances Aotearoa New Zealand’s distinct and unique indigenous voice in the world, uplifting our global competitiveness. 

Amber Taylor of ARA Journeys said that the connections made during the conference are starting to bear fruit. 

“Since the conference, I have received emails from a few attendees who expressed a keen interest in our projects and initiatives.  

We are excited about the possibilities they hold for our future collaborations and expanding our reach to audiences beyond our current business sphere," added Amber.

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