Support for new Māori ICT appointments

9:33 am on 15 October 2015

The National Māori Broadband Working Group is welcoming the government's appointments to the Māori ICT Development Fund Advisory Group.

Tolaga Bay Area School students access the internet on school computers via ultrafast broadband.

The Māori ICT Development Fund Advisory Group is designed to support Māori economic development and digital literacy initiatives. Here, tamariki at Tolaga Bay Area School surf the internet using ultrafast broadband. Photo: Nori Parata, Tolaga Bay Area School & Kahukuranui

In last year's budget, the government allocated $30 million for a Māori ICT Development Fund to support Māori economic development and support access to Māori language and culture through digital literacy initiatives.

The Māori ICT Development Fund Expert Advisory Group will look to confirm the operational framework of the fund and investment priorities later this year.

National Māori Broadband Working Group chair Antony Royal said he was happy progress had been made.

"I think most will be pleased that we're making some progress and that we do have an advisory panel and that we're moving forward," he said.

"There will be another round of consultation which will occur within the next month or so, but as I say it's progress even though it's taken a while to get us here."

Mr Royal said the $30 million in funding was a much needed incentive to encourage Māori to work in the digital technology industry.

The Minister of Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell, said that the advisory group has important work to do to ensure the fund is used to its full potential and the new members bring a broad cross-section of skills and experience to the group.

Minister of Communications Amy Adams said there were a wide range of initiatives that this fund could support, such as projects to improve digital literacy, scholarships to encourage Māori to study ICT, or programmes aimed at increasing the use of ICT by Maori businesses.

She said that she wanted to see the fund in operation as soon as practically possible.

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