Erena Mikaere-Most from Ngāti Rangi Trust and Principal Kim Basse discuss their collaboration and the impetus for this project.
Collaboration between Ngāti Rangi Trust and Ruapehu College in digital technologies
Erena Mikaere-Most, Ngāti Rangi Trust: The Ngāti Rangi Trust was originally established to progress the treaty settlement claims of the iwi. Ngāti Rangi is a small iwi based here in the Central North Island, primarily in and around Ohakune, around the western slopes of their ancestral maunga, Ruapehu, or as we refer to him, Koro Ruapehu.
Ngāti Rangi has a vision that they will continue to vibrantly exist in 1000 years' time. And so to vibrantly exist in 1000 years' time, we really have to ensure that the home fires or the ahi ka – home – is burning nice and strongly so that the people here are thriving.
Back in 2011 there was a Rangatakapu Think Tank – so kind of a younger generation of Ngāti Rangi uri or descendants who came home to, at that time, talk about their aspirations for treaty settlement. What came out of it was a realisation that the people who were here at home living, were living a pretty stark reality. So we looked at some surface level statistics, like NCEA achievement, like housing, like income, at that stage just for Māori and it showed that our people were in survival mode.
So for Ngāti Rangi to vibrantly exist in 1000 years' time we have to ensure that the people are thriving. And that’s where the genesis of the Ruapehu Whānau Transformation Plan came from. The Ruapehu Whānau Transformation Plan has 23 solutions. It’s informed through a number of statistics and stories of the people who live here because they’re the ones who know best about what will actually help. How will we progress ourselves into this changing, dynamic, crazy, global, digital future?
So, in our community 70% of our workforce are in the low to semi-skilled labouring positions. And with the changes that are happening, with the evolution of technology that’s going on right now, they’re probably going to be affected first in terms of automation. And so what does that mean for us? That means that we have to prepare ourselves. So we were aware of the digital technologies fund that came out to help inform the 2018 curriculum changes. And we were approached one day, it would’ve been within a week actually, by one of the deputy principals at the college and he was really keen, he was really passionate about digital tech.
Kim Basse, Ruapehu College Principal: We were keen to be involved in the technology initiative because this is the way of education – this is the future of education. And so our students need to be savvy, you know, they need to be creative. They also need to be critical thinkers about what they’re doing and what they’re learning. This is a really, really good subject for that. One of the great things about what we have here at the hub and working with the iwi, is that we are working towards our Māori values, our community values. That’s really important. I think it’s really important in the digital technology area too.
Erena: So the kids have been coming in the last two terms, and beyond the trial project and beyond the funding, we will continue. And we have continued to provide the computer science curriculum to all year nine and ten college students of Ruapehu and they are thriving. They’re loving it and they’re so impressive. They just … I have witnessed, I guess, their development from learning the absolute basics, to now being able to design and build games. And they’re in there with their java script or whatever, coding language is going on on half the screen and whatever they’re building on the other half of the screen and they’re just absolute naturals. So we are very lucky. It’s really exciting for us as a community to see that.
What’s really nice too is when the rangatahi from the college get to see their kuia and their koros come into the same building and learn some of the things that they’re learning as well.
That, for us, is everything.