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Auckland Council's Southern Initiative offers tech scholarships for Maori and Pacifika

Auckland Council's Southern Initiative offers tech scholarships for Maori and Pacifika

The Southern Initiative champions, stimulates and enables social and community innovation in south Auckland.

Credit: Rob O'Neill

Auckland Council is addressing a disconcerting statistic – that Maori and Pasifika workers make up just two per cent of the NZ tech sector – with a new partnership.

In an effort to boost diversity in one of the world’s fastest growing sectors, Auckland Council’s Southern Initiative is partnering with career development organisation Mission Ready, to offer 31 tech-pathway scholarships early next year.

The Southern Initiative champions, stimulates and enables social and community innovation in south Auckland.

It was established in the Auckland Plan as an initiative to help solve some of South Auckland’s most pressing social and economic challenges and to support south Auckland to be a prosperous, resilient place where children and whānau thrive.

Mission Ready director Diana Sharma said New Zealand’s tech industry needed to avoid the consequences of an alarmingly disproportionate representation of Maori and Pasifika when those cultures represent a fast growing proportion of the country’s population – 16.5 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.

“The fact that technology has taken over our lives from the way we shop, to the way we communicate, only makes it more important for greater Māori and Pasifika input and insight into what is a very strategic and pan-culture sector,” said Sharma.

“New Zealand’s tech companies also need to ensure diversity within their workforce in order to create products and services that will matter to, and reach, their customers.”

Mission Ready also emphasised the importance of growing a socially responsible – and socially responsive – talent pool for a sector that is facing a rapidly growing skills shortage.

The scholarships are on offer from February next year for Maori and Pasifika candidates aged 16 to 40 years.


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