Apr 17, 2021


Maori News & Indigenous Views

Te Arawa, Technology and Maori Spectrum Today

3 min read

How can Maori benefit from the new Digital Economy if the Government seems intent on auctioning the 700Mhz frequency to the highest bidder?

gphoneauc-250This very question is currently being debated across Aotearoa, and in particular, within Te Arawa, and while many of our Rangatira consider the options, we here at TangataWhenua.com have our own opinions.

The Digital Economy offers huge opportunities for young Te Arawa to develop innovative ideas, to build new businesses and to create tools, techniques, products and services that complement existing industries. For instance, geothermal technologies are on the verge of generating major new opportunities here in Rotorua.

Starting with the Maori Language Act in 1987, Te Arawa leaders like Rawiri Rangitauira, Toby Curtis, Cathy Dewes and Annette Sykes have been at the forefront of ensuring that te reo Maori was respected and recognised as an official language. At the same time, there was a growing expectation that te reo Maori needed to be heard in the home, so efforts were made to fight for frequencies that could be used to build Iwi radio stations.

Similar efforts were made to develop Maori TV and after lengthy deliberations, we were able to secure 2G spectrum, at great cost, enabling Maori to partner with 2Degrees. These huge strides in economic growth were matched by the slow regeneration and revitalisation of te reo Maori.

Every case was premised on the responsibility that the Crown and the Government were seen as fulfilling their obligations to the Treaty of Waitangi, in particular Article 2 and the right to have our taonga respected and protected. Taonga are seen as gifts provided to current generations by our ancestors and Atua, which brings our korero to the current kaupapa of Maori spectrum.

The proposed 700Mhz Auction is due in the next 3 months. Here, 4 blocks of spectrum will be auctioned to the likes of Vodafone, Telecom and others with deep pockets, with Maori offered no specific spectrum. Instead, Maori are being offered the carrot of $30m (which equates to an estimated 10% of total auction revenue) and is more than likely to be allocated between existing Maori ICT groups that seem fraught with conflicts of interest and closed door dealings.

In Te Arawa, we have our own thoughts. The most immediate opportunity we see is to locally partner with one of the major players keen on developing a deeper relationship with Maori; the second opportunity comes with an international partnership perhaps joining our indigenous brothers and sisters in North America to build technology, capabilities and a working network able to maximize economic benefits.

At the same time, we clearly see that any spectrum emanating above our lands needs to include our landowners, marae and hapu, as speaks the whakatauki Whaititiri ki te Rangi, Te Arawa ki te Whenua. It seems downright rude to make plans about us yet not to involve us.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that the Government would prefer that Maori not participate in the Spectrum Auction. It can equally be assumed that ICT Minister Amy Adams would prefer to not allocate funding either. While discussions with hand picked Maori seem to be occurring at pace, it is more and more obvious that Te Arawa will get no say. Not any spectrum, nor any allocated funding.

Which brings us back to the initial point: How can Te Arawa benefit from the new Digital Economy if the Government seems intent on auctioning the 700Mhz frequency to the highest bidder?

Only the Ministers can answer this question.

Meanwhile, we will continue to inform our whanau, raising this issue amongst hapu and marae and encouraging our iwi to get more involved in the Digital Economy as well as with Maori Spectrum. For us, it is more important to develop our own ideas that could lead to more local jobs, than to sit back and watch others do it for us.


2 thoughts on “Te Arawa, Technology and Maori Spectrum Today

  1. Its difficult to convince Maori young and old to take a new line of thinking concerning the road tomorrow. As an engineer assisting the development of a radical new wingless flight system called TRIMORPH which uses a close array of three rotation carbon fibre dimpled disc hemispheres which exploits the COANDA effect see..www.coanda.co.uk or see vidoes on youtube to get some idea. Also see. http://www.trimorpicdiscsail.co.uk to get further info. Funding for a manned version of this craft is currently being sought and it is the intent of the developers to make smaller robotic and remote control craft for long range surveillance, small parcel delivery over rough terrain and within city boundaries etc. The craft being able to lift considerable weight for its small size and its inherent stability due to the three rotating disc means it can take off and hover even in strong winds and can thus deliver pizza to the top of the Empire State Building in New York if need be. Larger solar powered craft can fly via remote control at very high altitude to act as transmission stations for all types of digital communications even across the whole Pacific Region. So hows about a hand young ones and beside these craft being solar and able to be assembled from kitset in under an hour are able to take you anywhere around the world in perfect safety and even converts to a tent when on the ground. Being solar powered with fuel cell back up this is a true go anywhere machine which will outlast you. Each craft will be made using state of the art laser sintering 3D printer systems and will be nigh indestructible and about the price of a small car. Cheers and welcome to the future. Be great flying it around the world making sales, huh.

    1. I hope all our Whanau Leaders have put forward submissions to the Consultation Period of the 700MHz Spectrum Auction for the Format and Rules of the Auction? Submission period was recently extended, and now due by 5pm on Monday 24 June 2013.
      Imagine if all Iwi Leaders finally got together to fight this common goal of enabling our people access from all over this country to content that would help in the education of our people
      A large reason the Government listens to the large Telco’s is because of their buying power. Imagine the Voting Power we Maori’s would have if we started working together for these common causes

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