First NZ Computer Clubhouse launched in Manukau

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MP Tariana Turia, co-leader of the Maori Party officially launched Clubhouse 274 part ofthe Computer Clubhouse Connected Community Project yesterday.

Clubhouse 274 was established in 2005, the first Computer Clubhouse in New Zealand. Clubhouse 274 offers music and video production facilities, robotics, graphic design, 3D modeling, photography, animation and computer programming opportunities to youth from the community. Clubhouse members construct their own learning based on their interests and strengths. Clubhouse 274 allows them to dream, explore, design and create.

The Clubhouse 274 provides a creative and safe after-school learning environment where young people from under-served communities work with adult mentors to explore their own ideas, develop skills, and build confidence in themselves through the use of technology. Clubhouse 274 is an after-school drop in centre where members choose to come and work on projects that interest them. As well as having access to state of the art technology and programmes, the Clubhouse also uses volunteers as mentors to provide help and support. Members have access to a world wide community of Clubhouse Members and staff to share and publish their work in a secure and supportive online village. They also have the opportunity to apply for scholarships and participate in a biennial Teen Summit with members from the world wide clubhouse community in Boston, USA.

The point of difference in this project that sets it into a class of its own is that we have established a seamless set of integrated solutions with equal weighting on the technology and the people who use it. Its a digital solution on steroids.

The Project delivers a hefty, fully integrated digital learning environment with Clubhouse 274 operating as a hub between schools and the community, along with a seamless set of digital solutions including:

  • A fibre network that is part of Vectors Metro Ethernet, providing ultrafast broadband to a free community-wide wireless network built by Rural Link to all Clover Park residents in association with community partners, Housing New Zealand
  • An online portal allowing the community to communicate and share digitally created content, developed at the University of Auckland and funded by the Ministry of Youth Development and Manukau City Council
  • Distribution of low cost digital devices through the Intel Classmate Laptop Project funded by Microsoft New Zealand and the Auckland Airport Community Trust
  • A Mobile Clubhouse 274 caravan to reach anywhere within the immediate precinct of the Computer Clubhouse Connected Community Project provided by Hewlett Packard New Zealand

The project has received mult-sector support, and its launch on Thursday carries national significance as demonstrated by the participation of Prime Minister John Key, the Office of Minister Tariana Turia, Manukau City Mayor Len Brown, Sir Stephen Tindall, and other business leaders including Simon Mackenzie of Vector Communications, Kevin Ackhurst of Microsoft New Zealand, and Keith Watson of Hewlett Packard New Zealand. IT industry representatives include Brett ORiley, NZICT; Sean McDonald, ICONZ; and Murray Pearson, Rural Link.

At the launch Ms Turia spoke of the importance of creating connected communities by saying:

It is obvious that today a time to celebrate the strength of the connection built up between the families and young people, the government and non government partners who have worked so hard to make the Computer Clubhouse Connected Community a reality; and all the industry players including representatives from New Zealand ICT and the Computers in Home programme.

In order to achieve this the Trust has created aphysical connection generated by this Clubhouse via a fibre network which provides ultrafast broadband to a free community wide wireless network.

The New Zealand Computer Society has described digital literacy as being the right of every New Zealand citizen – however statistics from the World Internet Project have told us that an estimated 20-30 percent of New Zealanders do not have access to digital technology. This project will therefore make a significant difference.

Check out this video made by some of the crew at Clubhouse 247:

Ms Turia also annonced an additional $8.345 million funding that Government has invested in increasing digital literacy and connection.

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