Seven students from Ōtaki are heading to the inaugural Indigihack, the world's first ever indigenous-led hackathon for young people.
With statistics showing an indigenous language disappears every two weeks, the hackathon aims to use new technology to help retain and revitalise indigenous languages around the world.
Supported by the Maoriland Charitable Trust through their Māoriland "Ahi" Tech Creative Hub (Match) Te Rangihuia Silbery-Henare, Oriwa Jury, Te Ākauroa Jacob, Hinerau Henare-Taiapa, Kaea Hakaraia Hosking, Te Ata Baker-O'Connor, Retitia Raureti will compete against students from across Australia and further afield to develop new app-based technology.
Taking place in August over three days, the group will interact with other indigenous communities from the remotest parts of Australia.
On day one the group will meet industry experts, visiting the University of Technology Sydney, and Google.
They will be challenged to identify an issue and create a solution.
On day two they will test and refine their prototype solutions before pitching their prototypes on day three to an audience of key stakeholders in the community.
Along with the learning and opportunity the programme provides the rangatahi, there is also $100,000 of prizes and and mentorship on offer.
The seven rangatahi attending are part of Match, a tech-creative learning centre supporting rangatahi in Kāpiti to become creative tech leaders.
Match provides training, mentorship and industry-led opportunities for rangatahi to pave the way towards high-value careers as producers, developers and become thought-pioneers of the future.
The seven rangatahi were chosen after attending a workshop by Indigilab, chosen for their ideas, ability to learn new skills, work as part of a team and their language skills.
While it's the first ever Indigihack, Māoriland have worked with Indigilab, the organisers of Indigihack, since 2017 when they presented a workshop at the Māoriland Film Festival.
The partnership has led to Māoriland's Madeleine de Young being asked to be a judge at Indigihack.
"Indigilab are strong supporters of our work at Māoriland Charitable Trust and asked for my input as a wāhine Māori."
While her experience is in the realm of Indigenous storytelling Madeleine and the other judges will be judging teams on culture, creativity, impact and scalability.
"Two of my main interests are filmmaking and photography and technology plays a big part in producing and enhancing my work," Te Ākauroa Jacob, 14, said.
"I am really looking forward to learning how to produce an app that promotes the Māori culture and meeting the indigenous people of Australia."
The hackathon will challenge indigenous youth to build and develop their digital skills using and creating new technologies.
The winner "hacker" will go into an incubator to further develop and refine the product.
"The aim is that by participating in Indigihack, new skills, knowledge and relationships will be created for rangatahi in Ōtaki," Madeleine said.
"Indigihack is a great opportunity for our rangatahi to learn from industry leaders in the wider Asia Pacific region, to connect with other young people interested in this space and to present themselves as tech creative entrepreneurs on a global platform.
"For Aotearoa, our involvement in Indigihack creates a pathway for more rangatahi to participate and engage by creating new professional relationships."
Costing $10,000 for the seven rangatahi and three adult supporters to attend, most of the cost is being covered by the Maoriland Charitable Trust however a Givealittle page has been set up to help with accommodation costs.
Visit www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/otaki-indigihack to help the team.