Hinerangi Edwards says technology lets Maori people raise children in community and can also be used to enhance kids’ connections to language and culture.
Hinerangi Edwards and her husband Kiwa Hammond head up AATEA Solutions, a professional training and communications business based in Taranaki. Hinerangi is also a Commissioner for New Zealand’s Māori Language Commission (Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori).
Hinerangi completed a Bachelor of Arts in Māori at Victoria University of Wellington and worked as a careers consultant before she and Kiwa left their corporate jobs in the city nearly 20 years ago and moved back to Kiwa’s community near Wairoa on the North Island.
“We wanted to raise our children amongst our elders,” she explains.
The couple have been able to continue their professional careers and connections, while maintaining their heritage and language, and stay connected to their community thanks
to technology, Hinerangi says.
Teaching tech in Maori
Hinerangi is also undertaking a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration degree part-time and holds governance roles in the agriculture, aquaculture (lobster) and tertiary sectors,
where she’s tapping into her background in career development to grow capacity in the
Hinerangi says that it’s important that education and computer applications embrace Māori language and integrate it into their programs, rather than just teaching technology skills in English.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Māori Development (Te Puni Kōkiri) has supported the development of a game-based e-learning app for iPads called Kaitiaki, which integrates science and Māori culture to teach school kids about marine biology.
RELATED: School of code
“This is a great example of a technology project that incorporates language in a way that connects back to an understanding and cultural interface rather than just transliteration of English,” Hinerangi says.
Māori language has a crucial role in education, she says. “Indigenous languages that are still in circulation are important points of wellbeing and we need to work to ensure they aren’t lost. Developing technology in Māori language helps our children to have choices, and to be part of creating the future.”
Hinerangi’s study and career pathway:
>> Diploma of Maori language (Te Tohu PaetaHi), Western Institute of Technology, Taranaki
>> Employment Advisor, NZ Employment Service
>> Bachelor of Arts (Maori), Victoria University of Wellington
>> Careers Consultant, Careers NZ
>> Leadership in Agri Sector, Agri Women’s Development Trust
>> Director, AATEA Solutions
This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Code 2019.
Author: Fran Molloy
FRAN MOLLOY is a freelance journalist and university lecturer whose career has spanned newspapers, radio and online publications. She writes about business, careers, research, science and environment.