Maori Party Co-leader Dr Pita Sharples has congratulated Te Huarahi Tika Trust on the release of the first te reo Maori smartphone, and the announcement of scholarships to encourage Maori into the ICT industry.
"These are hugely significant Maori initiatives in the digital and ICT sector," said Dr Sharples. "These announcements lay the foundations for an even brighter future," he said.
"A 2degrees smartphone, with all its menus and options in te reo Maori, symbolises Maori participation in cutting-edge technology, and the use of our language as an everyday part of modern life.
"Te Huarahi Tika Trust and Hautaki Ltd have helped change the digital communications landscape in Aotearoa, and contributed over $2 billion to our economy, with the launch of 2degrees.
It all came about through the determination of the trustees to create a pathway for Maori into the ICT industry, with a bold strategy, shrewd partnerships, persistent lobbying and careful investments.
“I’m really proud of the leadership they have demonsrated in positioning tangata whenua right at the forefront of progress within the telecommunications world.
"The ICT scholarships they announced, reflect the growing need for qualified Maori to take up some incredible opportunities.
“Te Huarahi Trust has blazed a new trail, in establishing Maori as creaters, owners, managers and leaders in the digital world.
"Accelerating Aotearoa connects senior Maori college students with career guidance about ICT training and employment. There are scholarships for Maori to undertake ICT Qualifications at Auckland University. And to cap it off, 2degrees has promised to recruit young Maori into a structured career plan".
"This is an area where the sky is the limit for Maori success in the knowledge economy.
"The Maori Party's policies strongly support Maori initiatives in ICT and digital communications," said Dr Sharples. I am delighted that alongside these new initiatives from Te Huarahi Tika Trust and 2degrees. Maori are geared up to take advantage of every opportunity in the expanding digital horizons”.