7 Jul 2015

Māori urged to take up careers in IT

8:14 pm on 7 July 2015

It's important that more Māori are encouraged to take up careers in information technology even if it goes against some aspects of tikanga, an IT expert says.

Laptop computer.

Photo: AFP

Karaitiana Taiuru said Māori were a minority in the IT industry but that needed to change.

Mr Taiuru, of Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Toa and Ngāti Kahungunu descent, said having more Māori in the sector was vital to the country's social, economic and cultural future.

He said typically tāngata whenua who are bought up with tikanga Māori are taught that communication should be kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) - not via a computer screen

He said this was one factor that may put off some rangatahi from considering it when choosing their career paths.

Other factors include other people's perception of those working in the field.

"Then there's a perception that ICT is full of geeks and nerds, who all wear thick glasses and are all science experts. That's far from the truth," he said.

Mr Taiuru said there were several advantages to working in the industry, as ICT skills can be taken anywhere in the world and often come with high salaries.

He said there were Māori doing amazing things in the world of technology.

The issue will be discussed at NetHui, a conference that runs from tomorrow until Friday at SkyCity in Auckland.

It will feature a Māori meetup to showcase leading research and provide opportunities for Māori to share their work.

Mr Taiuru, who is an organiser, said the meetup was focused on enhancing Māori digital entrepreneurship.

"The Internet is used for Māori language revitalisation, cultural enhancement and protection; we've got Maori on the international scene with Internet technology."

He said he would like to see as many Māori as possible turn up and participate at the Māori meetup at the conference.

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