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Education solutions steal the show at DIGMYIDEA Maori Innovation Challenge

16 May 2017

Two technology ideas which will improve the lives of whanau have been selected as winners in the DIGMYIDEA Māori Innovation Challenge.

Adele Sauer and her team of three from Hamilton won the Māuri tū: open category (for ages 26 and over) with a Māori sign language app called SeeCom.

Nicole Calderwood – also from Hamilton who entered as an individual – won the Māuri oho: youth category (ages 15-25) with Scholar+, a web-based platform that helps tertiary students find and apply for scholarships.

The DIGMYIDEA Māori Innovation Challenge calls on budding Māori digital entrepreneurs to submit their ideas with the aim to stimulate interest and involvement of Māori in New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem.

The winners were part of 10 finalists who took part in a DIGIwānanga mentoring weekend at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Mangere, Auckland as part of Techweek ’17.

Finalists pitched their ideas to a panel of judges with the winners announced at an award’s ceremony on Sunday night.

Associate Economic Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell congratulated the winners, saying he’s committed to increasing Māori participation in the technology sector.

“The technology sector provides opportunities for our whānau to higher-skilled jobs and increased income – which is where a real impact can be made.”

“We are rich in creativity and innovation and Techweek ’17 will ensure digital technology opportunities reach our rangatahi Māori, whānau, iwi and hapū,” Flavell says.

Mike Taitoko – DIGMYIDEA Māori Innovation Challenge judge, Waiora Pacific technology company managing director, and ATEED board member – says finalists submitted a broad range of ideas.

“These ranged from tourism applications to tertiary education ideas, and gaming and language concepts.”

“One thing many of the applications had in common was the use of technology to improve the lives of whanau, rather than just producing another app,” he says. 

“The winning entries were exciting ideas which were well-presented and were backed up with good business case studies."

"I look forward to watching the ideas develop further,” Taitoko says.

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