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Mahi Tūao | Our gifted projects

Our Mahi Tūao are projects we've gifted to people and communities using our time, wonderful networks and profits to give forward and help grow our sector. If you are an organisation that can help us, we offer ways in which you can support below.

Here is a selection of our favourite Mahi Tūao Gifted Projects.

Mitimiti on the Grid
(2014 - 2022 ...)

What we did
Sponsored, initiated and led strategy, contracts, funds and a tech team for a small isolated marae community at Mitimiti in the far North that has no or poor connectivity and countless power outages, flooding and road slips each year. We secured telco partners to implement NZs first RBI fibre connection in 2015. Setup scalable, remote software management system. Included designing network, trenching, installing fibre backhaul, community upskilling, managing technical team, purchasing, remote network management. Chorus, Vodafone, MyRepublic (now acquired by 2degrees), Internet NZ and Far North District Council assisted with portions of the funds, equipment and know-how

- Digital enablement for an isolated rural community that connected them to the world.
Ability to run large events on the marae site including large fishing competitions and mussel festivals while also enabling small businesses to join in with kiosks (coffee, kai), online payments, and attracting more people to help with local fundraising because they were connected.
- This project led to the Government’s current nation-wide ‘Marae Connectivity’ programme, connecting ~700 marae around the country.
- Ironically, Mitimiti does not fit the criteria for the marae connectivity programme and while it is pleased that so many other marae have been connected, it has been orphaned from the funds and equipment that it spearheaded. That's why we need your help.

How you can help
Funds target $1,200 per year plus equipment: The mobile part of the project is on hold as the 3G femtocell came to end of life. The community now relies only on wifi and if that goes down with the next power outage, they're isolated. In this case, we don't need a lot of funds, rather we need a telco to donate and install a 5G small cellular base station so the community can have a robust backup for communications in the event of an environmental disaster. Fibre backhaul is already in place. Please contact us if you'd like to help.

Toi Hangarau: Māori-owned Technology Companies annual report
(2022 - 2023 ...)

What we did
Sponsored, initiated and led strategy, contracts, funds and team. There was no Māori-led data driven and regular report on Māori-owned tech companies and yet they represent the biggest employers by percent of a Māori tech workforce. Pāua Interface created NZ's first Māori tech industry report by Māori, for Māori that is data-driven and has deep dives on founders' pathways so we can all learn from what works. The project identifies 72 Māori companies, 9 heavy-weight companies with strong revenues, and 16 deep-dive founder interviews revealing their pathways. The project had several generous sponsors who helped with in-kind or funds, and who contributed to 30% of the project. MBIE was one of the anchor funders and benefits from an eagle-eyed view of the sector to help them with funding decisions, policy development and insights into what works. The report is free to anyone who needs it.

- See here: to read the report now.
- The report attracted senior Ministers' attention who have been quoting it ever since including Minister Ginny Anderson and Minister Willie Jackson, both with portfolios looking at the future of work for Māori, growing Māori technology capability, and growing the digital economy. We are hoping the government will support the next edition with a portion of funds.
- The Māori tech sector and companies said they value a Māori-led report that reveals trusted data that makes their companies visible and shows them their sector – they'd like it repeated annually because this level of exposure will help the sector grow.
- We achieved over 3,000 readers with the first post (and need a comms person)

- The evidence that the report brings, helps to inform funders and investors how best to target their investments, and helps founders know the trends and where to pay attention to grow their companies and Māori tech workforces.

How you can help
Funds target: Around $180,000 per year
Whether you have small or big sponsorship funds, we're grateful whatever that may be. Come join the sponsorship whānau and help us make the next Toi Hangarau report happen. We want to repeat the report annually so we can track the trajectories of Māori-owned Tech Companies over time and record growth. We also want to build a 'live' interactive ecosystem map so we can share permissioned data with others. We also need a communications strategy and person to help extend our reach. Please contact us if you'd like to help.

Incredible Skies CAA certified Māori drone pilots for worksites
(2020 - 2021 ...)

What we did
Sponsored, initiated and led strategy, contracts, funds and team. Cadetship programme for Māori to train as CAA certified drone pilots for worksites, where the companies they work for either can't afford contracted drone services, or need daily or urgent drone flights on sites. Initiated and led, secured contracts, funds and partners, and built an online learning course. TPK assisted with 50% of the funds to our sister company Incredible Skies and Pāua Interface funded the rest.

- We trained the first 10 CAA certified Māori professional drone pilots and gifted them a light industry drone for their workplaces - all between Auckland's lockdowns!
- They all graduated in April 2021 and are now out in the ‘wild’ doing flight missions in their jobs safely and within the regulations.
- We received 100% positive feedback.
- Then Covid came, funding shrunk, and we were unable to find funds for the next cohort.

How you can help
Funds target: $500,000, can be achieved incrementally - approx $15,000 per cadet will cover CAA training, other flight and use case training, workshops, certified trainers, industry drone, and post-training support.

The project was so popular that we have 180 people on our waiting list and had to close the list. We need funds to run the next courses, to collectively negotiate drones and equipment, recruit certified trainers, and build an army of CAA certified drone pilots all over the country. Please contact us, we'd love your help.

Tech Masterclass Aotearoa for small Māori organisations without in-house IT capability
(2020 - 2021 ...)

What we did
Sponsored, initiated and led strategy, contracts, funds and team. Many small organisations have no in-house IT capability and are experiencing negative impacts from IT projects gone astray, unnecessary costs, and lost opportunities – some are losing tens of thousands of dollars at a time, money they really can't afford to be without.

We created NZ's first industry tech programme for organisations without in-house tech expertise focusing on Māori organisations so we could assist them in their worlds, and also opened the courses/workshops to NGOs and Charitable Trusts. TPK assisted with 30% of the funds for the pilot. We continue to support when we can. We need more pūtea to further develop and extend the reach of the project and make it free.

- Our initial pilot was designed for 10 people, but it was so popular that we squeezed in, and trained 40 who work in Māori organisations with no in-house expertise on data and digital governance, operations, understanding and assessing RFPs and quotes, managing IT projects, and trying out some great Māori approaches to tech.
- We received 100% positive feedback.
- Then Covid came (here we go again), funding pools shrunk, and we were unable to find funds for the next cohort.

How you can help
Funds target: $180,000
The project was so popular that we have ~70 people on our waiting list and existing learners wanting the next level of workshops — but sadly had to close the list. We need funds to build on the current courses, run a series of nationwide online workshops to help build the IT capability all over the country, and build a free virtual on-call 'shadow coach' service for non-profit organisations. The most popular topics are cybersecurity, IT project management, and assessing quotes/RFPs. We've also had many requests for workshops on Māori data sovereignty and operationalising – our speciality. Please contact us if you'd like to help.
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