Tech for good: power to the people


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Renee Raroa

Operations manager for Toha NZ

Renee (Ngāti Porou) is hopeful that our innate kaitiakitanga will enable us to recognise the pace and urgency of the shifts needed to regenerate our region and planet. Renee comes from the easternmost reaches of Tairāwhiti, in Rangitukia, and is proud to be part of a community with a hopeful future, where people and nature are connected. With a background in education, science and technology Renee is involved in a number of initiative, organisations and trusts supporting education in the development of tech and science for good.

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Debs Hancock

Riposte Founder, Startup Weekend Tairāwhiti and Technovation Tairāwhiti Organiser

Founder and CEO of Riposte Analytics, Debs Hancock is passionate about analysing complex problems and experimenting with innovative solutions using science and data. She first discovered her love of science through her studies in Neuroscience at Otago University and Master of Science in Forensic Science at Auckland University, and moved into the data analytics space through her work as an intelligence analyst for the NZ Police and SKYCITY. Using data analysis, pattern recognition techniques and problem solving, Debs used data to analyse and predict crime trends, detect money laundering and problem gambling, and design new approaches to persisting problems. Debs is now applying the same strategies to create a new social data impact-business model, and has created a platform built upon the values of transparency, collective responsibility and fair value exchange. She aims to provide workplaces, schools and organisations ethical access to real-time social wellbeing data, so that they can not only increase their social and emotional intelligence and provide the right support at the right time, but also detect long term patterns or issues within their organisations.

The Riposte platform has been built and tested with support from organisations within the Tairawhiti community, with pilot studies run with Campion College/Sustainable Coastlines, Gisborne Girls High School, St Mary's School, Lytton High School and Riverland Fruit Company. Supported by Callaghan Innovation this project has moved into the machine learning and predictive analytics space for additional insight and research into experienced wellbeing in our communities.

The Riposte Analytics team is based at the impact house Taiki E, and is also currently participating in the Impact Hub Waikato Open Accelerator Challenge. Debs is enthusiastic about creating entrepreneurial and technology opportunities for others in the Tairawhiti region, and has helped facilitate Startup Weekend Tairawhiti, Technovation Tairawhiti and the youth entrepreneurship course Business Time over recent years.

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Amber Taylor


Co-Founder and CEO of ARA Journeys, Amber Taylor (Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Whātua, Te Rarawa, Ngapuhi) is obsessed with building mobile data platforms, robots, and developing opportunities that support Māori and Pasifika students interested in digital technologies.
ARA Journeys builds mobile games that blend the digital world with te taiao and te ao Māori. Their gaming platforms utilise augmented and mixed realities and are designed to collect data across multiple channels, providing insights into the mental, physical and environmental wellbeing of communities. ARA built the first bilingual te reo Māori and English augmented reality game, were a finalist of the 2019 NZ HiTech Awards, finalist of the 2019 Callaghan Innovation CPrize Challenge, and only New Zealand company invited to showcase at the 2019 RISE tech conference in Hong Kong.
Amber is the Auckland Regional Ambassador for the National Digital Forum (Ministry for Culture & Heritage), member of the Polynesian Creative Cluster (North Asia CAPE), member of the Young Business Leaders Initiative (Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade) and New Zealand scout for the USA Female Founded Club.

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  • Artificial Intelligence
  • AR/VR
  • Biotech
  • CreativeTech
  • CleanTech
  • Education Technology
  • Financial Technology
  • Health Technology
  • Internet of Things
  • Information and communications technology
  • Marketing Tech
  • Government Tech
  • Tourism
  • Transport technology
  • Other
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