Rotorua, New Zealand
Ecosystem Builder, gamer, geek, mom, founder.
Founder: Digital Basecamp Coworking, Nativez Esports, Digital Natives Academy.
Working in digital tech for the last 20 years has helped me understand the opportunities and challenges we face in Aotearoa. From limited tech infrastructure to basic lack of access and equity for whānau. Instead of throwing our hands up and letting someone else deal with it. My husband of 20 years and I did something about it.
In 2000 there were few online resources for Māori, so we built a website (TangataWhenua.com) which become one of the most popular indigenous-focused websites of the 2000s. We iterated as the market changed, we began developing websites and databases for Iwi and Māori enterprises. We project managed Google Māori and as the internet grew so did our networks and company. It became clear 10 years later that few Māori were entering the digital tech industry. Again the path was clear.
Help make more leaders. We founded Digital Natives Academy in 2014 and have built it into a 280sqm state-of-the art facility offering free coding, animation and esports programmes. It has become an engine room for new innovative ideas. One idea to emerge was esports, and over the last few years we have seen its emergence as a global phenomenon - we along with a core group of passionate young leaders we established Nativez Esports, a professional esports company focused on ensuring NZ is represented at the highest level of professional esports. We currently have a top seeded team playing in League of Legends OCAL tournament.
Working in these online spaces made us realise clear gaps in understanding, one being wellbeing within these digital spaces. We partnered with Riot Games in 2018 to look at developing something unique and essential for schools, teachers and whānau wanting to better support their young people in online spaces.
While this was all happening we found there was a clear lack of collaborative working spaces in Rotorua. We found a small group of passionate people and founded Digital Basecamp, a 580sqm facility for (mostly) digital techs. We now have over 15 businesses represented complete with an animation/production studio and cafe.
For us it has been about building and nurturing these ecosytems, creating spaces where our communities can collaborate, thrive and grow.
Most recently we have develped New Zealand's first programme focused on helping young people to navigate social media and online gaming safely, called Te Iwi Matihiko, a values-based approach to digital wellbeing.
Mauriora!Why do you want to be a part of the HundrED Community?
To be part of a community of like minds. Who create, develop, design and found innovative programmes, initiatives and organisations.