Hack Tairāwhiti: Inspiring our regions to think and dream big through tech

Māori tech companies collaborating at Hack Tairāwhiti

11 June 2018

Jeremy Wilson / Programme Manager, Digital Services / NZTE

Reimagining how tech can improve Māori prosperity by growing scalable business from regional New Zealand to the world.

What happened when NZTE put eight Maori tech companies, more than 100 designers, developers, creatives, entrepreneurs, business leaders, plus 16 business mentors into a room for 48 hours to collaborate on specific business challenges? Held in Gisborne in May, New Zealand’s first national Maori hackathon, Hack Tairāwhiti, demonstrated how technology has the power to solve not just business challenges, but also empower our communities.

Watch our highlights video here:

Female Speaker: Forty-eight hours of a lot of very smart people right from a tech background to a design background to a creative background and a customer experience background all coming together to hack and solve a specific challenge. 

In this case what we wanted to do is test eight Maori companies with eight specific challenges that have both a commercial and a social enterprise impact piece in them.

Female Speaker: What really impressed me about tonight was everyone who came here to participate as well as the leaders, as well as the mentors and judges like us, everyone’s genuinely invested in Maori entrepreneurship and empowering everyone. And rather than questions of what I could do for people, people said, “Thank you for being here.”

Male Speaker: The team is excellent; couldn’t be happier. For me especially it’s the first time I’ve been to one of these events and just the different way of learning and collaborating has been incredibly rewarding and the process itself has been a massive learning experience.

Female Speaker: As you listen to different conversations that are going on they’re all like “Wow! I didn’t think that my solution could be that for this sector of Europe or this for the US; I hadn’t thought about it like that.” So, it’s a real push to help accelerate that.

Male Speaker: It was just an opportunity to give back to where I’m from. I’ve worked in a lot of high-performing teams and one of the key aspects of high-performing teams is you have to have trust. So, we had to establish trust as quickly as possible to deliver what we’ve done. We’ve all bonded in the small amount of time that we had; 48 hours, and we all trust each other immensely and it’s going to be quite sad to finish up.

Female Speaker: Running around looking at all the different groups it’s been really cool to see everybody’s passionate about their project and they’ve got real commercial solutions. So, what I love about this Hackathon is people are making a product that they can sell, and that’s what Hackathons are all about.

Male Speaker: Building things, breaking them, creating them again, testing it; it was an inspiring thing for me to actually witness what can be created in 48 hours. It doesn’t need to take numerous strategy decisions around a board table; we can do it really quickly and we need to.


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