Datacom collaborates with Nelson City Council on Iwi platform

Datacom collaborates with Nelson City Council on Iwi platform

Iwi have the power to engage with projects up to three years in advance.

Credit: Supplied

Datacom has engaged with Nelson City Council in creating a new iwi engagement platform called Te Parikaranga based on Sharepoint. 

The council works on about 150 infrastructure projects per year and as part of their processes, it’s vital to ensure the eight local iwi have the opportunity to provide input and feedback on projects of cultural significance. 

The Council worked closely with iwi to establish what the tool needed to deliver, then turned to Datacom to come up with a solution that would be both effective and cost-efficient. The council was already a proficient Sharepoint user, meaning it could keep costs low while navigating a familiar technology. 

“We used existing tools in the Microsoft 365 suite in a new way,” Nelson city council IT director, Jane McLeod said. 

“The tool was co-designed and developed with iwi so this wasn’t just a council project, it was a true partnership. It was a full co-development and co-design. We identified the challenges and created a traffic light system, which was the key mechanism to improve communications.”

The traffic light system allows each of the eight iwi to tag each project: red for ‘don’t move without us’; orange for ‘we need more information’; green for ‘you can continue with this project without our input’; blue for ‘we want to engage on this project but we don’t have capacity for it right now’. Because iwi can see how other iwi have engaged, it saves time by preventing double-ups.   

Although the platform has only been running for a short time, results have already proven significant time savings across projects and meetings.

“I have regular quarterly meetings with our pou taiao (iwi environmental practitioners’ group), Te Ohu Taiao, who designed this tool,” said Pania Lee, Kaihautū manager Māori Partnerships. 

“Normally it’s a three-hour meeting. But this time they asked for four projects to be moved onto the platform for feedback, which cut the meeting to two hours.” 

The team estimates that iwi are now able to engage with projects up to three years earlier.  

“In previous years, iwi were being given 20 or 30 days to engage with a project at the resource consenting phase for a project that had been going on for three to five years. That was not fair on iwi or demonstrating good partnership, because it’s not meaningful if engagement with iwi is after decisions have been made,” Lee said.

“Now, iwi can see a project from the beginning and engage in a design or strategic level. We have a clear and transparent process, that means we engage in a meaningful way. 

“By utilising an efficient and effective platform to save time, and avoid mistakes, both parties have a more satisfying experience with the engagement which leads to enhanced outcomes.” 

In other news, Datacom has also opened a new office in Nelson. First formed in 2011, the regional South Island office grew from two to 38 staff, consolidating two smaller locations into one space.

Some of its key customers in the area include New Zealand King Salmon and timber specialists, Goldpine. This is along side Cawthron, Nelson City Council, Sealord, Talleys, Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, WineWorks, Marlborough District Council and Marlborough Lines.

“We know just how critical Nelson’s and the wider South Island’s contribution is to New Zealand’s success; together they contribute nearly a quarter of the country’s GDP and our focus is on enabling that,” Datacom head of South Island Tracy McElroy said.

“It really is a privilege for our experts in Nelson and for Datacom’s wider South Island team to work alongside local organisations and provide the tech they need to support their growth and business goals.

“Our customers span every sector from farming to manufacturing, large scale construction to infrastructure, through to councils, health providers, retailers and wholesalers. Our teams work every day to develop, operate and protect technology and data, while also seeking to understand what’s coming next to help our customers and communities embrace and prepare for the possibilities ahead.”

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