Otago Polytechnic Bachelor of Information Technology learner Kane Dunn hopes to use his Mātāwaka Scholarship to help others trace their whakapapa.
Awarded to Māori students who whakapapa outside the Kāi Tahu rōhe and are studying at Otago Polytechnic, the Mātāwaka Scholarship has been developed between Otago Polytechnic and local Kāi Tahu rūnaka, and covers one year of tuition fees.
Kane (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Kahu) is in the second year of a Bachelor of Information Technology, an educational journey that has prompted him to look within himself as well as contemplate ways in which he can help others.
“I see the degree as a stepping stone to my goal of creating a digital database that people can use to track and research their own whakapapa.
“I was inspired by my grandad, who was passionate about his genealogy.
“Most of my wider family are from up north and I didn’t have that much connection with them, so this project has a deeper resonance.”
Kane says he’d like to incorporate Te Reo into his website, which will feature a database of places and names, links to iwi and hapu, as well as allow visitors to upload content.
“There are loads of possible outcomes. For example, people could be at a certain location and want to find out more about the stories of the area.”
One of the first things Kane noticed when he started studying at Otago Polytechnic was the level of support from its staff, including those at Te Punaka Ōwheo, Otago Polytechnic’s Māori centre.
“There are lots of people to talk to. I go to the poho every day and grab a coffee in between classes. It’s a good place to chill out or have a laugh.
“That support is great. People are genuinely interested in what you’re doing. And that interest makes you feel valued.”