A Hamilton-based enterprise are building an ed tech platform to pathway Rangatahi Māori and Pasifika into the creative tech sector.
The idea behind iRangatahi is to build the person not the CV. Building the leaders of tomorrow today!
iRangatahi exists to be a bridge between education and employment, the problem we are looking to solve is to help alleviate current social inequity for rangatahi Māori and Pasifika in the tech industry. Supporting these learners through the transition from education to meaningful work, starting their career in the tech industry.
As a founder Dawson says “I’m cut from the same cloth as the Rangatahi we aim to serve, I understand the inequities that exist”. When exploring the options, it felt like not enough others were doing anything to provide more opportunities.
One of the bugbears that drove the idea was that many of the lack of meaningful action from big tech businesses, where the values they state don’t align with what’s happening in practice. For example, they state they want a diverse and inclusive workforce, but that doesn’t line up with the percentage of Māori and Pasifika they employ within their organisations in practice. iRangatahi aims to support corporates to achieve this alignment, by providing them with work-ready Māori and Pasifika job candidates and also helping them to be a more appealing employer for the diverse workforce they aim to engage. Providing ongoing support to both employee and employer after the initial placement is one of the keys to their success.
Technology is the future in every industry, so providing a foundation in this gives young Māori and Pacifika a start in to a high-paid career. As Dawson puts it “Someone has to fight for our rangatahi so why not me?”
Part of iRangatahi’s mission is to provide opportunities and education in technology including Web3 platforms. Traditionally Māori and Pasifika are late to the party when it comes to embracing new technology, so iRangatahi is working to ensure participation and associated benefits from early in the adoption cycle. The goal is that in 10 years, Aotearoa has 10,000 Māori in tech then we have them to continue the journey for future generations. With the developments in tech it’s time for Māori and Pasifika youth to be at the front not at the back.
To date, iRangatahi have run workshops and holiday programmes, engagement zone activities, all self-funded. They have developed their own online platform, Learning Management System, and attended a range of youth events as a guest speaker to both rangatahi directly as well as youth workers.
In the next 12 months this inspired team aims to have a tuakana/teina programme up and running, launch iRangatahi with 6 x tech partners, and the support of a number of government agencies, so the learner can earn while they learn, within the corporate environment. Goals include one hundred rangatahi through our programmes over the next 12 months. The team is working towards developing their own app and building their own online community. In the future they intend to launch the phase 2 programme iRangatira, which is a leadership programme, aimed at the next stage of career development.
Co-Founder Dawson explains what the support required by iRangatahi for their next stage of development is. “We are looking for 6 corporate tech partners, to partner with the iRangatahi programme, and provide an opportunity to Māori and Pasifika to continue their learning journey in the Tech Sector.”
Dawson Marama (Ngāti Whakaue, Tuhourangi, Te Arawa) and Cam Te Paa (Ngā Puhi)
Cam Te Paa
Through participating in Kōkiri, Dawson has found value in whakawhanaungatanga – “Even though it’s been digital it’s felt like we’ve known each other for ages. Kōkiri has forced me to look into the business side of things – look at the gaps, and the way I do business. Before I was only looking at developing the content of courses and how to build youth engagement.”
In addition, the expertise among the programme staff, mentors, speakers and advisors has been invaluable to the iRangatahi team, who have also appreciated the use of the digital programme using platforms such as Slack; Zoom; Miro as well as the utilisation of google drives, etc. these technologies have helped throughout the Kōkiri experience.
Participating in Kōkiri has massively impacted Dawson’s life, “As a result of participating in Kōkiri, iRangatahi has contracts coming through, now I believe in myself. I knew what I’d done well in the past and through Kōkiri I have confidence in myself to put my offerings forward. Doing the work to validate that we are on the right track, that this is a real problem that we are solving.”
Kōkiri has opened up more networks, and these connections are opening doors for us. People are adding us on LinkedIn. Being part of Kōkiri has given the business a name, it’s no longer just associated with the founders, but has developed its own identity.
Kōkiri makes you put ideas into action. A lot of Pakihi Māori would have never have got this far if they didn’t have someone helping them with the action. A lot have been sitting on their ideas for years. It makes you start moving forward. If you really want your business to launch, Kōkiri makes you move!
This network of Kōkiri graduates and successful Māori businesses is growing. If you want to be a part of that and you want an experience that is authentically Māori then Kōkiri is the one.