(by Karaitiana Taiuru) I have just heard Ernie Newman CEO of TUANZ speak at a Maori ICT conference (of which ironically we had no wireless Internet connection and cell phones were banned). Ernie expressed his vision for Maori and how Maori are creative and should participate more in ICT.
Ernie was asked what TUANZ had done for Maori – his response was that the TUANZ strategy included that every marae should be connected to the Internet. Ernie then revealed that it was by chance that marae was included in the strategy when a board member suggested it be added.
This sparked the question on everyone’s mind “ How many Maori participate on the TUANZ board”. The response was “none you should elect someone”. The same response will be found from InternetNZ and any other ICT representative group.
This response created some angry emotions – more so in the banter at morning tea break. The main topic of disgust was lack of representation for Maori and no wonder we have issues with ICT.
So why are we Maori who have this issue not looking in our own backyard. What Maori group represents all Maori ICT stakeholders that could adequately reside on such a board – NZMIS, Te Huarahi, etc, no, none of them and certainly not anyone who was complaining at the break. They are all separate entities that do not co operate and have roles with cross over. None of them globally represent the vast majority of Maori.
There have been several attempts sine 2001 to provide a united voice for Maori ICT users but to no avail.
So why should we ask organisations such as TUANZ and InternetNZ to provide a Maori representative positions on their boards. Before we even consider such propositions we need as a collective of Maori ICT users need to unite to form an authoritive voice. Then once we have done that we need to increase Maori membership into such influencing organisations so we can have our opinions and voices heard. If need be join up enough members to have a real influence in the day to day decision making.
With a united voice we will also see reduced government spending and improved services.
The biggest issue is trying to find a fair representation of Maori ICT stakeholders and put them all in a room to talk the issue out.