A team of Northlanders who have been teaching young and old computer coding through a school and marae have been shortlisted for a national IT excellence award.

The NorthTec Digit Team, which has started coding clubs for children, teenagers and adults at Pehiaweri Marae and Kamo High School, is one of three finalists in the Excellence in IT Education category at the Institute of IT Professionals' annual awards which will be held in Wellington tonight.

The Glenbervie marae and Whangarei school have been the setting for coding clubs where students learn coding, how computers work and other skills through activities and games. It also introduces aspects of te ao Maori (the Maori world) as students at the marae-based club learn a code-related word in te reo Maori every session.

The Digit Team also helped establish the Kauri Club at the marae, which helps older people work with computers.


Nigel Studdart, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Project team leader, said he was delighted and honoured that the team had been shortlisted as a finalist, and it represented the strong partnership among NorthTec, the marae and the high school. Being one of three finalists in a national award was a reward in itself, he said.

The work has been carried out as a result of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Vision Matauranga fund which enabled NorthTec to employ IT professionals Temakwan Fenton-Coyne and Luke Tomes, to work in the community to develop skills which could lead to job opportunities for those taking part.