An innovative collaboration is about to help unleash the digital creativity and potential of tamariki Māori in Rotorua. On 1 December ten Kura from Ngā Kura ā Iwi will come together to take part in an esports experience in the form of a collaborative Minecraft speed build at Digital Natives Academy with the livestream produced by Local Gecko Productions and streamed on Twitch.

Gaming and esports has fundamentally changed how tamariki and rangatahi engage with the world. It shapes the language they use and how they express themselves. It involves friendly and competitive online gaming playing solo, duo and in teams across multiple types of games and platforms. 

The event called Mātauranga Wero Hanga, is equally collaborative with Ngā Kura ā Iwi o Aotearoa, award winning production company Local Gecko Productions, Digital Natives Academy and Te Papatipu Matihiko Charitable Trust all coming together to provide expertise and help create memories that will last a lifetime.

Alongside this is the need to help young people navigate online spaces effectively and safely. This event encourages this by working with both students and teachers to explore these issues, while showcasing and celebrating Te Reo Māori in a way that is authentic. This is achieved by using the medium of esports to inspire tamariki and rangatahi to consider the multiple pathways that digital and creative tech offers.  To share in the experience with the wider community, the event will be livestreamed on Twitch.  

“It is fundamental that our students are given opportunities to explore these spaces in ways that allow them to express themselves authentically as Uri of their Iwi. We’re so excited to be able to bring this experience to our Uri and Kura”, says Hannah Simmonds, Kaihautū Pūrau for Ngā Kura ā Iwi.

Creating experiences like this is essential in helping tamariki understand how they might staircase into the larger digital and creative tech industries. Local Gecko Productions are the perfect example of a whānau owned business who in a very short amount of time alongside of 23 rangatahi who have grown their services into a reliable and trusted brand across Aotearoa New Zealand. In particular, they have understood how to harness the digital world and create real-life career opportunities for themselves and others.

“What we want to show our tamariki and rangatahi is that there are opportunities right now that will allow them to work in these emerging industries, but because this space is so new, it’s about making those opportunities happen, being brave and trusting in their capacity to make amazing things happen” says Moana Miller, Operations Manager at Local Gecko Productions.

Ensuring there are culturally safe spaces to explore the digital world is equally important as a reminder that you don’t have to give up your culture to participate.

“Young people have immersed themselves in this digital realm and unless we make Te Reo Māori easily accessible in the spaces where our children live, work and play, we lose this incredible opportunity to further embed Te Reo Māori me Mātauranga Māori within their lives”, says Nikolasa Biasiny-Tule, CE at Digital Natives Academy.

This event is made possible with the generous support of Ipurangi Aotearoa (InternetNZ) and a handful of organisations who believe deeply in equity of access and opportunity for all New Zealanders. 

If you would like to watch live – join us on www.twitch.com/getintogamesnz from 10am-3pm on Dec 1st.

Ngā Kura ā Iwi o Aotearoa (www.kuraaiwi.nz

Ngā Kura ā Iwi (NKAI) serves 39 reo immersion kura across Aotearoa.  NKAI provides advocacy and support to kura to enable Uri (young people) to achieve Mana Motuhake.  Te Whare Angitu is the department responsible for direct delivery of programmes to Uri.  NKAI have three Pou that provide support and initiatives through to enable Uri to achieve Mana Motuhake: Mātauranga (Uri are seekers of knowledge), Tukuihotanga (Uri are champions of our cultural heritage) and Oranga (Uri are health and well).  

Local Gecko Productions (www.facebook.com/LocalGeckoProductions

LGP, a whanau-owned business, has grown rapidly through embracing technology and the digital world, since 2020 when the business started, a few months after the NZ wide COVID Lockdowns. They have grown from Primarily operating within the Bay of Plenty community to working throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand and now internationally, LGP have, in a very short amount of time alongside of 23 Rangatahi who have grown their services into a reliable and trusted brand. Local Gecko Production believes that the opportunities for rangatahi in the digital sector are endless and are committed to growing more rangatahi to work in the digital and broadcasting sector.  Local Gecko Production Company, strives to produce media and content for all manner of events or business. Be it large scale operations or small gatherings, LGP is here to help provide media and content solutions so that businesses or events can reach not only a wider audience but truly make a splash and be seen in this world of social media. A Rotorua Business Award winning team in the Innovation and Technology sector, they are recognised as a trusted supplier.

Digital Natives Academy (www.digitalnatives.academy

Digital Natives Academy, a non-profit, was established in 2014 to encourage young people wanting to enter the digital tech industry the power to create, transform, shape and develop their own digital tools.  DNA’s vision is to inspire the next generation of digital leaders. Our foundation is based on a Te Ao Māori worldview and we provide Kaupapa Māori and Matauranga Māori programme delivery. Our goal is to create career pathways for whānau who don’t have access to technology. We do this to inspire them to become makers and innovators of technology, rather than users and consumers of it.  

Te Papatipu Matihiko (www.maoriesports.nz

TPM is a collective of leading Māori organisations (Victory UpNgāti Gaming & Digital Natives Academy) working in the esports/digital tech education space who are committed to inspiring and empowering young people by illuminating pathways into digital and creative technology. This collective delivers edu-tech focused expos, esports events and related PLD workshops. To date TPM has physically worked with over 6000 students across 125 schools to great success.

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