Te Tiriti In Action

October 1, 2019 | Honouring Te Tiriti, Industry | Dev Academy

On a sunny Wellington day, about 100 people gathered for Te Tiriti Meets Tech, Pōneke edition. With representation from across the tech sector, we gathered to explore what honouring Te Tiriti means for this group of people and the organisations they represent.

The event began with a pōwhiri (greeting ceremony), which included whaikōrero and waiata on the side of the tangata kaupapa (hosts of the event, Dev Academy) and manuhiri (guests), as well as some shared kai. Then, it was time to launch into whanaungatanga: who are we, and why does this question matter to us?

Manuhiri gather on the waterfront as they wait for the event and pōwhiri to start

The four articles

We heard from companies like PwC, Flick, Sharesies, Storypark, Datacom and more while having a kōrero. It became clear that everyone present shared an interest in working out what their individual and collective next steps are in honouring Te Tiriti. So, to further the basis for this conversation, our own Carolyn Taueki-Stott presented an overview and exploration of the four articles of Te Tiriti.

Article One: Kāwanatanga Article Two: Tino Rangatiratanga Article Three: Ōritetanga Article Four: Wairuatanga
The right to govern is qualified by an obligation to protect Māori interests. The right to exercise authority in respect to one’s own affairs. Self-determination. Guarantees equity between Māori and all New Zealand peoples. A guarantee of religious freedom in a broad sense – requiring our recognition and respect for indigenous principles, and willingness to uphold and support those indigenous practices.

The journey of 627 steps

Members of the Dev Academy team, and our co-hosts Catalyst IT, shared case studies of our evolving journey and commitment in this space. Catalyst’s Chris Cormack jokingly referred to the ‘627 steps’ (to honouring Te Tiriti) that inadvertently became a widely-used catchphrase for attendees throughout the day.

In groups, we explored how each article is or could be reflected in the participants’ organisations. For example, thinking about Tino Rangatiratanga (sovereignty) could look like a company’s pricing transparency or giving people the power to turn on their devices based on when electricity costs less. Or  —  at Dev Academy, we are working to achieve parity or Ōritetanga (equity) in representation, pay, and leadership roles within the tech sector.

A group of attendees sit around a table in discussion

Reflections and next steps

During the checkout round, a few themes emerged. Prioritising courage over comfort, and acknowledging that everyone is on a journey of learning about and honouring Te Tiriti, were just two of the significant themes. The ‘627 steps’ also resurfaced in many personal reflections, and rightly so — Chris’ point was that everyone is somewhere on that path, whether it’s step 1 or 47, and it’ll take patience and persistence to make progress.

Questions we were left with: Who are the people who needed to be at the event, who weren’t? What do we need to leave behind to be able to do this work? Guilt and shame play a huge role when it comes to taking the next steps, so how may we overcome what keeps us from acting?

Leaving the event, Brooke Roberts, CEO and co-founder at investment platform Sharesies, reflects:

“I left the Te Tiriti Meets Tech ki Pōneke hui with pages of actions and reflections. It was such a great way to come together as a community and understand ways the tech sector can uphold Te Tiriti. At Sharesies we have lots of actions but one is looking at how we are creating hiring equity. We currently are partnered with TupuToa [an internship programme building pathways into professional and corporate careers for people from a Māori and Pasifika background] and have heaps more to do to create equity.”

Two attendees talk and laugh together


Much of the sentiment by the end of the event was that we were only getting started . Now, when the event is over, is where the hard work starts. Showing up to an event is easy, but prioritising the work on an ongoing basis is where the rubber hits the road. If you or people you know might be keen to get together to do more work on this, please get in touch.

Thanks to our generous sponsors InternetNZ and Catalyst IT, who made the fabulous venue, kai and League of Live Illustrators possible. (League of Live Illustrator images shared under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence).