A Northland-based project which saw the establishment of the first-ever marae-based coding club has won an award for education innovation.

The NorthTec Digit Team started coding clubs for children, teenagers and adults at Pehiaweri Marae in Glenbervie, Whangarei and Kamo High School.

STEM project team leader Nigel Studdart and research educators Temakwan Fenton-Coyne and Luke Tomes have been in Wellington this week attending an IT conference where the team were shortlisted for the Institute of IT Professionals' Excellence in IT Education award and took out the CITRENZ award for Best Innovation Education on Monday night.

"That's mind blowing," Mr Studdart said of the award. "To have te reo in a digital space is great. The whole of New Zealand can learn from tikanga Maori strategies about how we can be culturally safe in this digital age."


Mr Studdart said he had already approached the Northland Regional Council and Northland Inc about getting the programme into other marae and had also been approached by Ian Taylor, from Animation Research Ltd, at the conference who wanted to visit the Pehiaweri Marae coding club.

"We were the first in the world to start. It's a coding club run in a Maori environment that is culturally safe. With kids bringing [technology] home they need support and we have a lot of children living with extended family members or grandparents so it's important to support elders. They're not digital natives but they have that tikanga Maori framework."