A recruitment app to help young people create a video resume for prospective employers and a platform to make it easier to save for a first home are two of the prototypes developed by the teams in the Programming Māori Potential (PMP) digital technology accelerator.

The PMP programme from HTK Group has been designed for rangatahi Māori, age 17-19 years old, and takes them through the design thinking process, from sourcing a problem to exploring solutions and taking it through to prototype.

Getting more rangatahi Māori excited about tech and opportunities in the sector is one way to start addressing the under-representation of Māori in the industry. Only four per cent of New Zealand’s tech workforce identify as Māori despite representing 16.5% of the country’s population.

"In New Zealand if we don’t have representation from Māori when we are thinking about how we’re designing services for New Zealanders then we’ve got a massive gap,” says Justin Gray, Managing Director, Datacom New Zealand.

“We need to be encouraging Māori youth through partners like HTK and Programming Maori Potential, it’s such an important programme to make sure we build that representation and ensure the opportunities that tech has to offer are being realised for everyone."

Datacom is a programme partner and has provided mentoring for the PMP teams, hosting a hackathon to help the rangatahi (young people) refine their concepts and build out their prototypes.

The winning idea for this year’s programme came from Team MBP with the Peneficial prototype - a pen that transfers how students are feeling into an app where they can self-evaluate and get advice on how to cope with those feelings.

Microsoft is also a PMP partner and Kaye Harding, SaaS Partner Lead for Microsoft New Zealand, says it is a great way to spark some passion and show people that tech is a really good pathway.

“Maori are really under-represented in tech so [we want] to give a bit of inspiration and help more people see tech as a viable future.”

Datacom is involved in a number of another initiatives focused on supporting more rangatahi to build a career in the technology sector and ensuring more equitable access to the advantages offered by new and emerging technologies.

A strategic partnership agreement with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu is giving the South Island iwi access to training and placement opportunities with Datacom, and opportunities to develop overall technical capability.

The partnership has significant mutual value for Datacom and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

Datacom Group CEO Greg Davidson says for the company it is an important opportunity to better understand the needs of Māori in the tech sector and to tap into new talent.

Sparking a passion for tech is another piece of the puzzle, which is why Datacom is encouraging team members to speak at events like Ko Māui Hangarau, the annual summit for rangatahi featuring Māori innovators and entrepreneurs from around the country.

Teresa Pollard, Associate Director - Strategic Partnerships for Datacom, spoke at the 2021 summit and says sharing stories about exciting careers and what can be achieved through technology is a great way to inspire young people to consider technology as a career option.

Programming Maori Potential participant using mobile phone
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