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Ōtaki 15 year old wins Sydney Hackathon

12 August 2019

Ōtaki 15 year old wins Sydney Hackathon

‘Indigenous knowledge will save the planet,” this was the central statement for Ōtaki teenager Kaea Hakaraia-Hosking’s winning INDIGI HACK pitch.

Held in Sydney, Australia on August 8-9, the inaugural INDIGI HACK was a two-day hackathon targeted at Indigenous youth aged 8 - 18 aimed at developing new appbased technology to revitalise and retain Indigenous languages in line with UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages. Indigenous youth globally make up a substantial proportion of the Indigenous population - for Indigenous languages to survive and thrive, Indigenous youth must be supported to learn and continue their languages.

Eight teams of Indigenous youth from Western Australia, Sydney and Aotearoa competed over two days at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) with support from industry and university mentors.

Māoriland Charitable Trust (MCT) travelled seven rangatahi from Ōtaki on the Kāpiti Coast to Sydney to participate in INDIGI HACK. This trip was part of the MCT’s M.A.T.C.H - Māoriland Tech Creative Hub programme. Launched in May of this year, M.A.T.C.H is the first Māori led creative technology hub in the wider Wellington region. It aims to support rangatahi to become creative tech leaders. Through training, mentorship and industry-led opportunities M.A.T.C.H is creating a pathway for rangatahi to enter high-value careers as the producers, developers and thought-pioneers of the future.

15-year-old, Kaea Hakaraia-Hosking pitched a game called, “The Protectors” in which players use cultural knowledge to defeat an invading force. As the winner of the Bamban Prize for 1st place, Kaea was awarded $5,000 and will receive ongoing incubation from UTS to develop the game. She aims for this game to have a real-world impact - by sharing Indigenous knowledge players will be encouraged to change their behaviour in their day-to-day lives.

Winner of the Jankaji Award for Cultural Knowledge, 15-year-old Te Ākauroa Jacob pitched a game that will expand the vocabulary of Māori youth. A fluent speaker of te reo Māori, Te Ākauroa identified that when rangatahi have a limited vocabulary in te reo Māori that they will default to speaking English to communicate. By putting Māori words into a puzzle game format, rangatahi can be encouraged to grow their vocabulary and communicate better.

Kaea and Te Ākauroa were accompanied in Sydney by Te Rangihuia Silbery-Henare (15), Hinerau Henare-Taiapa (16), Oriwa Jury (15), Te Ata Baker O’Connor (14) and Retitia Raureti (15). The seven were selected from a workshop held at the Māoriland Hub as part of M.A.T.C.H Korakora Matihiko in May. Now home in Ōtaki, the Māoriland Charitable Trust intends to continue to support all seven rangatahi to develop their game concepts within M.A.T.C.H. They will also be encouraged to share their experiences and knowledge with other rangatahi participating in M.A.T.C.H programmes.

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