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Computers in Homes Wairoa Graduation Ceremony

Hon Tariana Turia

Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector

Thursday 16 December 2010

Computers in Homes Wairoa Graduation Ceremony - Community Partnership Scheme

Wairoa Memorial Hall; Wairoa

Delivered by Louise Cole, DIA Regional Manager; on behalf of the Minister
Tena koutou nga mana whenua, nga iwi kainga, Ngati Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine, Rakaipaaka, Tuhoe Potiki ki Waikaremoana, Ngati Pahauwera; tena koutou katoa. Na koutou te whakaruruhau mo tenei hui.

Your honour the Mayor, Les Probert.

My parliamentary colleague, Chris Tremain.

E nga rangatira whakahaere i te hui, tena koutou.

When I read up about the achievements that have been coming out of Wairoa associated with Computers in Homes I really felt that it was at least worthy of a ticker-tape parade through the main-street of town.

In case the brassband isn’t on standby- let me shout from the rooftops what you have to be proud of.

455 families in the wider Wairoa region have graduated since 2006. 455 families – just imagine how many people that is; the influence upon the children and mokopuna that we know will carry us through to the next generations.

This is a wonderful achievement and I want to celebrate this wonderful success.

Of course, we all know that those 455 families have not just transformed into the information age without a team of supporters on their side.

And I want to place on record my utmost appreciation for the support that has been evident right across this community.

I would like to begin by acknowledging the many people and organisations whose support have made today’s event possible:
- Laurence Zwimpfer and the 2020 Communications Trust;
- Leona Karauria, project manager for Computers in Homes Wairoa;
- the Wairoa District Council;
- the Wairoa Prinicipal’s Association,
- the Wairoa Youth Trust;
- Simplistic Advanced Solutions; and
- Of course all the Computers in Homes families.

All of you can share together, in the sweet success enjoyed by today’s graduates.

Well done to you all.

What you have done, in the years since 2007 – and as is particularly evident today – is to come together for the common good.

You have made connection a key word in all of your vocabularies.

Today we pay tribute to the fact that you have acquired a whole new set of tools to strengthen your connections, ICT tools which bring people together.

I have been told that one participant from Computers in Homes Wairoa’s Senior Pakeke programme said that “the computer is a very important part of my life now because I am able to keep in contact with all my whānau and friends.”

We are immersed in a whole new world of tweeting, twitter, email, Facebook, Bebo and Skype.

While in former years we might have lifted the phone, put pen to paper, or remember the day when we might just knock on your door and have a cup of tea – we now have a vast range of means to keep contact with each other across generations, across cultures and even across nations.

But it isn’t always as easy as Just Push Send.

Because what the sixteen families that graduate today would tell us, is that learning about digital tools takes a great deal of confidence, knowledge and a whole new set of skills.

One of the greatest strengths of the Computers in Homes programme is that it brings families together. The key to the success of the Computers in Homes programme is the involvement of the whole whānau.

As the Minister Responsible for Whanau Ora I cannot help but see how whanau capability, confidence and communication can be enhanced by the Computers in Homes project.

Whanau Ora is about improvements in outcomes right across the sector – and so I am really mindful of the way in which this project can strengthen links between families and schools to lift education levels of children as well as upskilling their parents in using digital technologies.

It’s all about families learning together, irrespective of age – and indeed whatever the location.

I think that’s one of the things I really like about the programme – it’s about inter-generational learning; supporting parents and grandparents with the skills needed to use computers and the internet. Through this new learning, parents and grandparents are then in turn connected to their children’s education.

What we see with the Computers in Homes programme is real progress in reducing the digital divide between generations and in increasing digital literacy across generations.

Indeed, I believe that Computers in Homes is one of the unsung treasures of our time – there are so many aspects to its success and so many different outcomes that we can attribute.

The New Zealand Computer Society has suggested that Government should be promoting digital literacy as an essential life-skill that greatly increases the capacity of individuals and groups to participate in all aspects of life.

That participation can lead to better employment opportunities or provide the means to increase learning and expand our knowledge and connect with others.

Finally, I want to assure you all that what we are witnessing here today in Wairoa will grow wings and fly across the motu. This is not a one-off, over-night wonder; such important learnings must be shared on a wider scale.

And so I want to advise you all that the Government is committed to supporting increasing digital literacy.

In Budget 2010, $8.345 million over three years was announced to increase digital literacy and connection. This money was allocated to the New Zealand Computer Clubhouse Trust and the 2020 Communications Trust to distribute for Computer Clubhouse and Computers in Homes programmes.

It is something that I am really proud of, because I have seen at first hand, the way that whanau are making the most of the opportunities presented by these programmes.

They tell me that there has been a very high level of interest in Wairoa in participating in the Computers in Homes programme, and that the Senior Pakeke programme has been a particular success amongst what some call the Silver Generation.

Once again, congratulations to today’s graduates, well done for taking up the challenge to increase your digital literacy.

I look forward to the fruits of your efforts, being demonstrated in supporting whanau leadership, in maintaining community connections, in employment opportunities and in learning outcomes.

Let the trumpets sound and the banners fly high - Computers in Homes Wairoa – you can be so proud of your success.


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