Community Informatics Research Centre

“Commmunity Informatics” (CI) is the application of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to enable community processes and the achievement of community objectives. CI goes beyond the “Digital Divide” to make ICT access usable and useful to excluded populations and communities for local economic development, social justice, and political empowerment.

The Community Informatics Research Centre is located onsite in Kia Aroha College and Clubhouse 274. The Community Informatics Research Centre is established within the Tokorau Institute for Indigenous Innovation based at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi.

Mike Usmar, CEO of NOAC, and Ann Milne, principal of Kia Aroha College, have been offered positions as adjunct faculty of the Tokorau Institute as Adjunct Teaching and Research Fellows.

The purpose of the Tokorau Institute is to unlock the potential of indigenous people, their knowledge and their resources, by connecting indigenous or traditional knowledge systems with new, advanced and emerging information and communication technologies.

In 2011 Studio 274  developed research to evaluate the impact of the Clubhouse and the High Tech Youth Connected Community Project . The research asked questions such as:

  • How has membership of Studio 274 and the development of the Connected Community Project empowered the youth members and families involved?
  • How meaningful is this connectivity through ICT to participants, “as Maori” or “as Pasifika” people?

Kia Aroha College and Clubhouse 274 have established a reciprocal partnership with Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi for the benefit our students and community.

In 2014  four Kia Aroha College students became the first students in the High Tech Youth Academy, a programme of the High Tech Youth Network in partnership with the Tokorau Institute of Indigenous Innovation at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi in Whakatane.

The HTYA is a proactive response to ensure young people are certified with industry recognised qualifications and have clear pathways from secondary school to tertiary, employment in the high tech sector or enterprise development. The focus of the program is the blend of creativity, innovation and technology and the opportunities this provides for employment and economic choice.

In 2010 Tech Pa became an official member of the Network of Aotearoa Clubhouses (NOAC) and the international Computer Clubhouse Network. Clubhouse 274 were also in attendance at the Grand Opening of the Tech Pa Clubhouse on 3 December 2010

In 2009 a group of students, who are members of Clubhouse 274, travelled to Whakatane to support the launch of the Wananga’s Tech Pa initiative. Tech Pa is a technology centre established with $2.8 million of government funding by Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, Te Runanga o Ngati Awa and the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic. The goal of Tech Pa is to involve the community in technology through fast access to the internet and other multi-media computing activities such audio and video production, and to give local youth a place to come after school to learn how technology can further their education and careers. Our students demonstrated their skills and Clubhouse learning to many who gathered for the launch.

We acknowledge the work and support of Associate Professor Dr. Mark R. Laws DipGrad, MSc [Distinction], PhD [Otago], MRSNZ , and Te Pou Tokorau (Director) of the Tokorau Institute, who was instrumental in establishing Tech Pa and developing the liaison between our school, the Clubhouse , and the Wananga. Tragically Dr Laws passed away on Thursday 30 December, 2010. Moe mai e te rangatira.