Northern iwi who launched a new broadband venture on Thursday have paid tribute to the Chinese company that has financed it.
Tai Tokerau Networks, made up of the runanga of Te Rarawa, Ngati Whatua and Whaingaroa, are celebrating the completion of a fibre-optic cable delivering ultra-fast broadband from Auckland to Whangarei.
It is the first Maori-owned broadband network in Aotearoa.
Te Rarawa chairman Haami Piripi says the iwi were unable to win support from the New Zealand Government or companies, but Chinese telco CCS has proved to be the best backer they could have wished for.
He says the 213km cable reaches rural areas not serviced by other broadband providers, and it will now be extended north to Kaikohe and Kaitaia.
Mr Piripi also paid tribute to Wellington telco Datalight and its head, Roger MacDonald, who has played a major part in setting up and supporting the venture.
He says the partnership has been structured in such a way that it will always be iwi owned.