InternetNZ Nethui Day 1

A report by Maureen Hilyard

Konstantinos Komaitis (ISOC), Jordan Carter (CEO, InternetNZ), Maureen Hilyard (Chair, ALAC; PICISOC Board), Dr Ellen Strickland (International Advisor, InternetNZ), Emani Lui (Chair, PICISOC Board) 
As is the protocol for a hui in New Zealand, the conference participants were welcomed with a mihi from the tangata whenua (the hosts, staff of Te Papa). Their waiata was responded to by a waiata by the staff of Internet NZ (the first time with everyone singing in their own key).
Jordan Carter, CEO InternetNZ  introduced the theme of the conference which was “the Christchurch Call”.  He stressed the importance of confidence and trust in the internet and that in order for it to be regained required government and online service providers support via regulations and policies to address terrorism and other violent extremist content online.
Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern explained the discussions that took place in Paris during the global discussions that took place between governments and technical companies in Paris to try to resolve the situation in the future.

The two breakout sessions that I attended, following these formal presentations were on Climate Change and Digital Inclusion. 

The session was on climate change and how the various organisations in NZ could help to minimise carbon emission levels. I congratulated them on what they were attempting to do to help mitigate the ultimate impact of climate change on our small island environments in the Cook Islands, as protectorates of New Zealand, as well as other islands in the Pacific.

At the Digital Inclusion session, my intervention related to how CIIAG (the Cook Islands Internet Action Group) has helped to support the digital needs of the growing population trend of elderly across the Cook Islands. While NZ may offer many opportunities to cater for the social and healthy well-being of their elderly,  I explained that this was not so true in the Cook Islands. I described CIIAG’s project with the support of USP and funded by NZAid, to address the strong need for the elderly to gain confidence and skills to help them communicate with family and friends who live overseas, as well as to help them overcome their feelings of loneliness and isolation.  They were provided with free lessons on Mangaia to increase their skills with digital technology – mainly the use of gmail and Facebook as well as texting on their mobiles.  CIIAG also purchased a couple of computers and other equipment, from funding from the NZ High Commission to establish the first telecentre in the Cook Islands at the local community centre on Mangaia, mainly for the use of their elderly and disabled members. Both sessions were very appreciative of the addition of a Pacific Island perspective to their discussions.

Following this second session, I met up with Laurence Zwimpfer. Laurence ran the New Zealand end of (and raised the funding for) our eDay in 2010 that Pua Hunter and I coordinated,  to gather all our e-Waste on Rarotonga and send it to NZ. It was the first ever e-waste collection of its kind in the Pacific. And then the NZ government pulled the plug on eDays in preference for regional recycling centres. Today Laurence is the Chairman of the Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa which involves 160 libraries in New Zealand who are connected by their interest in digital inclusion for marginalised groups particularly schools, rural communities (our outer islands), as well as the elderly and disabled. Because of our connection in the past, Laurence has invited the Cook Islands Internet Action Group to become a partner organisation of the NZ Digital Inclusion Alliance group. Because it involves working with communities, the Alliance delivers its activity reports through their local libraries which generally provide a venue for free local training or support groups associated with Alliance activities. 

The diverse panel included: (l-r) Ross Young – GoogleEllen Strickland – InternetNZ, Konstantinos Komaitis – ISOC, Jillian York – Electronic Frontier Foundation, David Shanks – Censor, Anjum Rahman – Islamic Women’s Council)

The final plenary of the day was a panel who discussed “The Internet after Christchurch”. The various speakers contributed their views about what changed after Christchurch, and what else needs to be done to ensure this does not happen again.

Share

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.