To start with, I just want to say this is purely a summary of what I took away from Nethui this year. Also I will be being careful not to takahi anyone, If I do, please let me know and I will apologise and correct it. Nethui was held inside Te Papa, and my feelings are we were in off the marae ātea at that point and that the rules of Rongomaraeroa apply. It would be very hypocritcal then of me to have spent the last 3 days talking about tikanga and te ao Māori, to then be whakahīhī and belittle others, a most un Māori thing to do. All that being said (longest disclaimer ever) here we go.
This year I attended both the 2 main days of Nethui and the partner/pre events on Wednesday also.
The first session I attended on Wednesday was about blocking/filtering parts of the internet, mainly focused at the ISP level. Some interesting discussion was had, but I’m not sure any sort of consensus was reached, but I don’t think there ever will be one on such a topic, especially when (usually) those making the decisions are those least likely to be impacted by them. But it was a good discussion to be part of nonetheless.
After lunch, Amber and I got a little lost and ended up in an Ally Skills workshop, which was the best accident of the whole 3 days. It was a great workshop that I won’t try to summarise here, but if you ever get the chance to do it, you should. I’ll be happy to explain why in person.
That evening there was a Māori in Tech dinner at Dragons restaurant. It was great to see some familiar faces, and meet some new people.
Thursday Nethui proper started with a whakatau, and then into the first keynote. This was interesting, my one piece of feedback, and I tweeted it at the time is that I prefer (and think it is more effective) when people use examples from their own place/culture, than using others.
I don’t think anyone from a settler colony would have to think too hard to find examples of oppressive and brutal regimes.
Following that I attended a session on Environmental Sustainability and the Internet. It was a great session, with one exception. The guy who tried to tell everyone that there were no tāngata whenua left
I wish I could say it was surprising, it did seem to surprise a lot of the non Māori that he would say that, but we hear it all the time. What was surprising and in a good way, was how quickly the room shut this nonsense down.
So a bit of a rocky start to the morning.
After that I went to the session on Copyright, the main topic of discussion was the upcoming copyright reform act, and how the time to make submissions is now. It was a little worrying how people are still quite confused between copyright, trademarks and patents. I think that this is something that perhaps would be a good mini talk in its own right. The discussion was good, and one of the ideas was that Te Tiriti o Waitangi should have a much more prominent position in the legislation. Which was great to hear.
Following lunch there was the keynote from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who spoke eloquently, and in my promise of non takahi, I’ll leave it there.
I had quite a few issues with the panel afterwards, I am not going to name names, but when you are talking about what happened in Christchurch in March, and the one Muslim on the stage talks about white supremacy, the last thing you should do is talk about terrorism with all your references being non white supremacists. It was like watching gaslighting play out on stage.
After that, and a few deep breaths, I went to Building a New Zealand Disinformation Response plan. The main thing I took away from this is we are way underprepared for what is coming our way. And that the existing organisations such as the BSA and the media council are not able to deal with things other than traditional media. You may be able to guess how I (as a Māori) think they do dealing with traditional media currrently. It was also discussed how there is no one place a person could report disinfomation too.
Following this was drinks, nibbles and networking. A long day, equally interesting, positive and frustrating.
Friday the first up for me was the session on Internet of Things. It quickly became clear data privacy is the main issue so most of the discussion focused around this. I could sum it up by saying non-Māori seem to have far more trust in the Govt and its agencies than Māori do. Another reason NZ history needs to be taught in schools.
Following this was Amber and I facilitating a session on Digital Colonisation. I think this went ok, but I’d much prefer someone else summarised/shared their opinions on it than me.
The final session I attended was Technology & Māori Community wellbeing. I missed the start as I got caught up downstairs after our session, so I think I missed quite a lot of the context, so I didn’t really get much out of this. My fault entirely.
After the wrap up, a few of us went out for some drinks and dinner, which was fantastic. This leads me nicely into the highlights (for me) of Nethui.
It was the people, it’s always the people.
Catching up with old friends. Hanging out with the rangatahi Māori, hanging out with the other mātua and whaea, making new friends.
I particularly liked watching the young Māori speak up, with clear and direct words. We could do a lot worse than to get out of their way.
Ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi