A group of "champions" in Wairoa District could have their own stories published on mobiles worldwide by December this year thanks to a nil-fee digital app course delivered in Wairoa by AUT University.

The 30 people have enrolled in a level five Certificate in Digital Media 1 paper delivered by the Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Development, Te Ara Poutama at AUT University. Each student will have his or her own app published and will be included in a Destination Wairoa App which will be available on app stores worldwide on December 7. The initiative was a collaboration with Te Ara Poutama, Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Development, the Centre for Learning and Teaching and the AUT AppLab and members of the Wairoa Community.

AUT University director of the Digital AppLab Hohepa Spooner, who hails from Raupunga and Ahuriri, brought all the resources and equipment to Wairoa from Auckland so the students would have the resources to learn a new skill.

Thanks to the generosity of the Pro-Vice Chancellor Learning and Teaching/Maori Development, Pare Keiha, the level five course is a scholarship programme, meaning the $3000-per-student programme is being offered to the 30 Wairoa people - nil fee.


Spooner says each student will receive a certificate of completion that will count towards university entrance for each person.

"I love being back home, especially to have the opportunity to teach my people and my whanau," Spooner said. "Learning and sharing is an important component of this course, so, this will allow these 30 students to go back to teach their communities, hapu and whanau what they have learnt."

The students are required to complete three assessments for the programme, based on research, digital storytelling with video and digital app development.

Wairoa District Council's economic development and tourism officer Angela Spooner says the entire project is based around working with the Wairoa community and helping those groups in the community to increase their digital literacy.

"The skills and knowledge they learn will help them produce a mobile phone App promoting who they are and what they do, and offer in the community and wider district of Wairoa, Hawke's Bay, Gisborne and Waikaremoana," Ms Spooner says.

"This is also about creating tourism opportunities for these students and their takiwa through the sharing of history and their sites of significance, while still preserving the mana of stories that are personal to their whanau and hapu."

The programme is made up of four weeks, 20 days, six hours a day of face-to-face teaching. The programme is broken into two segments of teaching and learning.

The first block of teaching are being held over the next two weeks, and the second block will be held in November.


Local woman Amiria Te Amo-Mitchell, who is a student in the course, says she loves the programme because it's something she has never done before.

"This is where the world is heading, in terms of technology, and it's great to have the opportunity to learn something new and interesting," Mrs Te Amo-Mitchell said.

"I believe a programme like this will greatly benefit our rangatahi and the community as a whole."