A proud voice for wāhine Māori in tech

Go Media Director Andrea Rongonui is one of ten wāhine Māori chosen by Te Taumata Trust to spearhead a world-first tech trade initiative with Europe and the UK, working alongside Kiwi innovation agency Callaghan Innovation.

Women only comprise 26.7% of the tech industry in New Zealand and Māori only make up 4.1%, meaning there is a greater need for initiatives that encourage diversity in the sector, Te Taumata says.

Free trade agreements with the UK and EU, that came into effect in May, include a Māori trade and cooperation chapter that provides a new platform to advance Māori economic aspirations.

Callaghan Innovation’s Francis Davy, Head of Māori and Government Engagement, says the initiative has valuable long-term prospects for Māori.

“This partnership will help support the long-term growth aspirations of Māori businesses.”

This knowledge exchange also includes a six-month post-exchange programme of support to build an ecosystem of wāhine Māori in tech who are trade ready and export enabled. Te Taumata and Callaghan Innovation hope to not only open new markets for Māori-led tech businesses but also to inspire young wāhine Māori to pursue careers in innovation, sciences, technology, and research and development.

Rongonui is now in London for London Tech Week.

“The trip started with a welcome reception at the New Zealand Embassy in Paris with Ambassador Caroline Bilkey followed by a series of networking events with industry leaders to investigate market opportunities. The highlight was a visit to Station F, the worlds biggest start-up campus, with over 1000 start-ups literally under one roof as it is based in a converted railway station. Microsoft, Meta, Binance, Loreal and LVMF all had partner programmes at the campus,” says Rongonui.

“Then we flew to London to be part of London Tech Week which is designed to bring together the innovators creating the technologies of the future and the investors who fund them with over 90 countries represented,” continues Rongonui. “It has been a whirlwind trip with networking breakfasts, seminars, functions at New Zealand House and a visit to Google HQ in London.”

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