Fostering education and opportunity with community WiFi at Ngātira Marae
Due to New Zealand’s vast farmland and remote towns, for many Kiwis, internet accessibility is difficult. Knowing this all too well, the Ngātira community needed our help.
For Ngātira Marae, and the surrounding community, rural internet access has always been a bit of a hassle.
With a small community of 50 or so people, only a handful of Ngātira residents have access to personal WiFi. So for most, this means a 20 minute drive to neighbouring towns Putaruru or Tokoroa.
Looking to create better opportunities for the community, the trustees at Ngātira Marae decided to reach out to their Iwi Waikato-Tainui to get involved with the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).
As resellers of the RBI ourselves, and with our extensive experience in connecting ‘hard to reach’ places, our team at Wireless Nation were more than happy to lend a helping hand and support Ngātira Marae’s mission to get connected.
Benefits for our community and tamariki
Today, WiFi and technology are highly prominent in education and schooling
Sadly, many schools do not consider the fact that a number of New Zealand children do not have access to devices and learning WiFi at home.
So, when it comes to doing homework, many children are left with less opportunity.
When we interviewed Rachel; a trustee of Ngātira Marae, she explained that in the past, local children often had to travel a great distance to access learning WiFi at the local library.
But now that Ngātira Marae has joined the rural internet club, children have the opportunity to go to the marae after school, and complete their homework closer to home.
Rachel is also excited about the new opportunities for learning and growth for the kaupapa of the marae, in particular, their Tamariki Programme. Created for 5-12 year olds, the programme includes educational activities such as weaving, arts and crafts.
Being able to jump on the web and access learning WiFi and online resources is going to add valuable new elements to the children’s experience.
“When internet is at your door it’s hard to comprehend how much it’s going to change your life… It’s going to make life easier for a lot of local families.”
Bringing the community together with the little things
While rural internet brings benefits to education and more opportunities, the Marae Trustees feel happy about the little joys it will bring to the community.
Due to the rural location of Ngātira Marae, locals are used to having to walk up a high hill to get cell phone coverage. But now that there is community WiFi access, most locals can contact home from the comfort of their wharekai (dining room).
For many, this sounds like a given, but for the community of Ngātira, there are smiles all around for little things like this.
Rural internet at the marae is also going to bring the community together with the simplest pleasures.
Rachel says that the marae now has the connectivity to host movie nights, and to provide a place for locals to keep up with youtube and social media; an everyday routine many of us take for granted.
“A lot of people take internet as a given. It’s interesting to see how in some remote places, where it isn’t usually accessible, how new opportunities arise.”
Getting on the bus with the rest of the world
For many, WiFi is a norm. But for many others, it simply isn’t.
This is why here at Wireless Nation our goal is to provide rural internet to every corner of the country.
By helping Ngātira Marae with rural internet, their children and whānau now have more access to learning WiFi resources that were previously out of reach.
“We feel like we’re on the bus with the rest of the world. We can do things we couldn’t do before. It’s exciting! Where will this take us next?”
Is your community lacking internet accessibility? Do you want the same opportunities as the rest of New Zealand?