A Māori data programme in Manawatū is celebrating the graduation of its first data apprentices.
The six month Auraki Group Data Apprenticeship Programme marks a significant milestone as the first ever kaupapa Māori data apprenticeship programme.
Programme lead Nicky Haeata-Ruwhiu said it was a special night for the 10 graduates and she was excited for them to carry on with their learning.
"Most importantly we'd like to acknowledge what they did while they were working full-time and they really put in an amazing effort... so we'd like to acknowledge their dedication to the programme."
Haeata-Ruwhiu said the course was a guide to practice data sovereignty, giving participants the skills to collect, analyse and interpret data.
They can then take that back to help benefit their communities at a grassroots level, she said.
"There's also so much data that's held within our iwi and community... so now with the confidence [the graduates have] got they can go away and build capacity within their spaces."
Haeata-Ruwhiu said there were many Māori data experts out there who were putting a tirohanga Māori, a Māori lens, on data.
She hoped the new apprentices would be inspired by the mahi of those experts.
"We acknowledge that there are many champions out there that champion a tirohanga lens within data. So that was really exciting too, being able to see that there are Māori out there who are doing it and be inspired to go do the same things."
Haeata-Ruwhiu said the goal was to continue the programme next year and expand it into two courses.
Wayne Blissett of Rangitāne o Manawatū summed up the kaupapa perfectly when he addressed the apprentices at the graduation ceremony, she said.
He said it was about "being able to equip our people at grassroots level who are often the most involved with our communities with skills to manage, protect, optimize the data they have access to [and] ensure that it's used in a way that there are positive outcomes for Māori."