May 14, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Maori ICT to get $7.5million for Development Initiatives

2 min read

A new Maori ICT Development Fund has been confirmed in the 2014 Budget raising expectations that there will now be seed funding to help launch innovative cutting edge initiatives.

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After years of tireless lobbying the Government has reaffirmed the importance of Maori ICT to the nation’s future digital growth.

No details around how this fund will be distributed, but the hope is that the funds will be distributed fairly in an open and transparent way.

This is particulalry important as understands there are already informal talks happening between players within the industry suggesting that deals might be done. It has been noted that a number of Maori ICT groups had been shoulder tapped for closed tender projects, perhaps pre-empting today’s announcement.

Notwithstanding the government had to recognise Maori interest in ICT after access to 4G spectrum was denied in 2013, instead opting to consider establishing a $30M Maori ICT fund proposed by Minister Amy Adams.

The Digital Maori Forum (DMF), a national Maori ICT lobby group, has committed itself to ensuring there is fair distribution of the funds.

Rei Sciascia, Chair of the DMF, said “We celebrated when we heard that Iwi radio was recognised with its increase in funding, and that Te Mangai Paaho, Putahi Paaho and Maori TV would not lose funding.”

[quote cite=”Rei Sciascia, Chairman Digital Forum”]”We are incredibly encouraged to hear the announcement of the $7.5m Maori ICT Development, as it is due recognition for struggling Maori whanau who work in the community with very little financial support but tonnes of enthusiasm, passion and commitment.”[/quote]

Mr Sciascia continued “The challenge is for Te Puni Kokiri to act in a more transparent manner, because as of now, the Digital Maori Forum have been excluded from participating in Maori ICT projects, despite having some of the leading Maori ICT practitioners as members”.


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