A Gisborne Iwi has invested in technology to help other tribal organisations to boost communication levels and help preserve historical and archival material.
Ngai Tāmanuhiri, in partnership with tech firm Fronde, have launched a solution called Iwi Connect to enable tribes to communicate with their people located around the world, promote and revitalise Te Reo and plan the Iwi’s future with members’ direct input.
Mere Takoko, Business Development Manager for Ngai Tāmanuhiri Trust explains that with Treaty of Waitangi obligations to meet and many of its people living away from the area, the Trust had no way of quickly communicating with members to canvas their opinions or share important information.
It also had masses of archived material, some of it kept in a shipping container, that it wanted to digitise and easily store for members to access both now and for future generations.
“Since adopting the technology, the tribe has developed a far greater understanding of how Iwi members are connected to each other and other Iwi," Takoko adds.
“The tribe can now securely adopt campaigns and announce important events, share business opportunities and interact with Iwi members, friends and users. It also has vital communication tools to meet its legal obligations to manage assets on behalf of the Iwi.
“We are also growing the Iwi’s future with members’ direct input and as a result our membership engagement has grown from 25% to 95%.
“We now have a better idea of who we are and what resources we have within the Iwi. We also now spend a fraction of the time and money we used to spend on administration and far more time directly engaging and communicating with Iwi members.
“For Ngai Tāmanuhiri that’s building a mobile whanau online as well as face-to-face support on the marae and among Iwi."
Working with Ngai Tāmanuhiri, Fronde designed and built Iwi Connect into a database and archive of information about the Iwi and its members.
The solution includes an Iwi register solution, digital survey tool and voting system which can be accessed through any computer, mobile or smart device – empowering tribal members to have their voices heard from anywhere.
Fronde’s Chief Information Officer Paul Armstrong says the solution that Fronde delivered is a great example of how technology can liberate organisations and allow them to devote much more of their resources to things that really matter.
“Fronde designed and built a smart cloud based solution that has helped nurture existing relationships between all members and friends of the Iwi, wherever they are, connect with new friends and whanau, and strengthen tribal identity," he explains.
“Iwi Connect is a great example of how technology has transformed outcomes for an Iwi organisation and we look forward to continuing to work with Ngai Tāmanuhiri as it takes the next steps in its journey."
Takoko believes that tribes around the country have a lot to gain from utilising Iwi Connect to deploy key services to members and to meet their Treaty of Waitangi obligations.
She also says she looks forward to leading Ngai Tāmanuhiri’s business programme and working with Fronde to commercialise Iwi Connect and take it to a wider audience.
“Iwi Connect has made a tremendous difference to Ngai Tāmanuhiri," Takoko adds.
"We are very happy with the solution and are working hard to make it available to other Iwi around New Zealand, who have similar needs.
“Our mission is to help Iwi to transfer wealth and benefits to tribal members in a way that does not compromise their existing asset base and enables a safe and secure environment for members to have their say.
“The most fundamental thing any Iwi can do is connect with their own people living at home and overseas.
"Often organisations have no way of quickly communicating with members to canvas their opinions, achieve a mandate for key decisions or share important information.
"Going into the future we will also be looking for ways to inspire Iwi to adopt this technology so they can communicate with tribal members located around the world to promote and revitalise Te Reo, our Marae and key projects from education to health."