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Maori representation on ICT boards

(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.

(4) Comments

  1. phineazz273 PTA

    Kia Ora Karaitiana Development of Maori ICT infrastructure will be one of the Key Issues that demands attention. At the moment Maori are fragmented in the way in which a lot of social, economical and educational issues are being addressed. The attention to detail and understanding of infrastructure development and implementation of UFBI & RBI initiatives may require more resources than any 1 group or person could manage. MED has given vodafone and telecom the go ahead to build without consultation with maori. This is not surprising nor is it anything new. It seems they do not value the maori voice or respect maori input. For maori to develop ICT infrastructure may require partnering and Networking with other organisations with the expertise to plan and implement for the future. This is a BILLION DOLLAR industry and the reasonTHESE organisition whether they be NGO's, crown entities or Corporate Organisations are not going to roll over and share the goodies. I totally support Maori ICT infrastructure and development it is long long overdue. The best of luck for challenge ahead

  2. Karaitiana Taiuru

    Kia ora Rei, Nga mihi nui kia a koe mo te panui. I should point out that the original posting was made last year when Ernie was still CEO of TUANZ and it was the hui at MED that you and i were in attendance at. I have been pro active with Maori and ICT (nationally and internationally) for over 16 years. So i feel i speak with some authority. The Maori ICT group you mention is needed especially since the NZ Maori Internet Society is no longer, which i believe NZMIS was the only representative group for Maori ICT with over 2500 members. Alas, i can mention at least 7 such Maori ICT groups who have claimed similar things to you over the past 16years only to never to be seen or heard of again. To any one who claims to be a part of a Maori ICT group representing Maori. How do you measure that you are open and truly representative and how transparent you are ?. There is a huge problem that will affect every web user next month when the Internet will run out of IP v 4 addresses. Should this not be a first major issue for telecommunications representation group ?. We have less than 5% of the allocated IP v4 left and will be one of the first countries in the world to run out!. IP v 6 is the first and most important need of our people today!. I hope to see more of your group. kia ora ra, Karaitiana Taiuru 021 0707 507

  3. Antony Royal

    Kia ora Karaitiana, You raise some very valid points about Maori representation on many of these boards, I've personally stood for Internet NZ, twice now, and had to weather at times, the thinly veiled anti-Maori sentiment. Its something that needs to be addressed, while I'm happy to do that, there is only so much time and so many battles to be fought and so few people with the skills and experience to take on this mahi. We have to pick the battles we fight strategically. Just for the record, I happened to have the opportunity to question Ernie this morning about his comments at this hui. We both came to the conclusion that this must have been at the hui facilitated by Te Huarahi Tika Trust in Wellington the year before last. Rei is correct in that Ernie has not been the CEO of TUANZ for a while now, and I took his comments at the time as a challenge to us, about how we organise ourselves. It was offered in a constructive way. They (TUANZ) know that they don't have a comprehensive strategy that encompasses Maori aspirations, but who will help them? We (as Maori) have to be prepared to do the mahi. I believe that Maori representation has to add value and is not just be there to be seen as a Tekoteko that allows some boxes to be ticked. Anybody else keen to take up the cause ? Lots to do !!

  4. Rei Sciascia

    Kia Ora Karaitiana I have read your commentary just to say Ernie Newman is not the CEO of TUANZ any more but have been to Hui where he spoke about Maori ICT. I don't want to get too angry and talking about those negatives. I say never mind about them as they are a subscription based company who works on that alone. You are right the issue can only be fixed by looking in our own backyard and identifying what Maori group represents all Maori ICT stakeholders that could adequately reside on ICT decision making boards – NZMIS, Te Huarahi, etc or even regional leadership groups. Again you are right these so call organisations are all separate entities that do not co-operate and have roles which cross over. None of them globally represent the vast majority of Maori ICT stakeholders. I also agree the biggest issue is trying to find a fair representation of Maori ICT stakeholders and put them all in a room to talk the issues out. Well Karaitiana over a period of 3 years a group of Maori ICT business people went to find out the answer to that very question and were left to provide for themselves while the select few were accumulating any funds that could have helped. The result of all that hard work and with help from really good people that look at Maori the same way as you, ran a Hui last October with the intentions of creating a Maori entity that will fairly represent Maori ICT stakeholders. At that Hui it was decided that this group would be called the Digital Maori Forum and with the generosity of the same really good people we are running a second Hui in February 2011 to finalise the working groups strategy of establishment. Also at this Hui we invited the Spectrum claimant group to present to the Hui so we all can see where we would be able to help. With this we thought it prudent to invite the 3 RBI shortlisted companies update us on their RBI proposals so that this very group can have an input into positive ways forward in the Telecommunications for Maori. So we are along way down that road, if you want to know more visit www.ict.maori.nz or contact me on 0272838873.

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