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Te Pōkai Ao

To explore innovative opportunities within our world

The term ‘Te Pōkai Ao’ emerged from a discussion on the personal and collective attributes and aspirations Ngāi Tahu whānui have for our people. The main focus is on science, technology, engineering, arts and maths subjects (STEAM initiatives) and how we can nurture Ngāi Tahu by providing opportunity and development.

What is this kaupapa about?

Te Pōkai Ao is a Ngāi Tahu STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) initiative, focused on developing the engagement, capacity and capability of our young people as future leaders in STEAM related fields. The programme is aimed at Ngāi Tahu Youth (Years 9-13) and provides opportunity to discuss the current issues facing our iwi, and the needs and jobs of the future. The programme is made up of a series of STEAM and cultural wānanga including noho marae, workshops, practical involvement in supporting local communities and quality engagement with world-leading companies, universities, academics and STEAM leaders. The initiative is a guided opportunity to unleash the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of our tūpuna – Kia rite anō ki ō Māui whakaaro, kia rere te huata, kapohia!

What’s on in 2019?

Noho marae

Rangatahi will explore STEAM subjects and strengthen their Ngāi Tahutanga in preparation for the STEAM programme in Hawaii or San Francisco/Silicon Valley.

Hawaii STEAM programme

This particular Heke is focused on exposing our rangatahi (Year 11 to 13) to the ingenuity of our tūpuna through Mahinga Kai (traditional food gathering practices) using a hybrid of traditional and contemporary technologies. The whāinga is to reinforce the importance of indigenous STEAM knowledge, and its role and value within our changing world. Rangatahi will have hands-on experience within Ahupua’a in Hawaii led by leading Kānaka Māoli (Tangata Whenua) STEAM practitioners. Rangatahi will gain practical experience by working alongside the tangata whenua in projects that have an immediate effect on the local people and their environment. This Heke is for those with a passion for the outdoors, and the protection and maintenance of the natural environment as well as traditional food gathering practices.

Applications are now closed for the Hawaii STEAM programme, 2019.

San Francisco/Silicon Valley STEAM Programme


Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu is pleased to confirm the following opportunity for Rangatahi Ngāi Tahu in Years 9 & 10 at High School to attend local wānanga in preparation for an international trip to San Francisco / Silicon Valley in the October School Holidays, 2019.

This initiative aims to inspire our rangatahi who engage in STEAM subjects and encourage them to continue studying these subjects at High School.

This experience will provide an opportunity to build on science, mathematics and technology skills, as well as broaden your curiosity and creativity in ways you can only imagine.

Rangatahi will take part in design workshops and engage with industry leaders and mentors including hi-tech entrepreneurs, investors, researchers and academics. You will be encouraged to capture and share your experience through social media to inspire others.

Important dates

First noho marae
30th of August – 1st of September, 2019
Te Takutai o Te Tītī, Oraka Aparima (tbc)

Trip to San Francisco, Silicon Valley
Saturday 28th of September – Monday 7th of October, 2019 (school holidays)

Second noho marae
18th – 20th of October, 2019
Arowhenua marae

Ideal applicants will:

  • Be in Year 9 or Year 10 and have an interest in studying technology, science, engineering, arts or maths.
  • Be a registered member of Ngāi Tahu
  • Have a strong interest and desire to learn about Ngāi Tahu reo, tikanga and history.
  • Be open to embracing and upholding our Ngāi Tahu values of Manaakitanga, Rakatiratanga, Whanaungatanga, Kaitiakitanga and Tohukatanga.
  • Have an active desire to strengthen connection and engagement with Ngāi Tahu, their Papatipu Rūnanga and marae.
  • Work effectively within a like-minded, committed group of ‘shakers and movers’, but also be confident to share their individual creative ideas and solutions.
  • Be committed to developing indigenous leadership within the field of STEAM.
  • Endeavour to look for future opportunities to give back to our iwi and developing solutions and better outcomes for our hapū and whānau.

Apply Now

Applications for 2019 are now closed. Applications for 2020 will open early Next year.

Next Steps

If you’re successful in your application, we will send you a confirmation letter and a detailed plan outlining the activities and requirements for the trip.
Once you have carefully read through the detail, we need you to confirm, in writing, your commitment in participation in pre and post bootcamp activities.

Costs for noho marae and the haerenga to San Francisco will be covered. You are responsible for ensuring you hold a current passport, which is valid for six months after the date of travel as well as your application for an ESTA visa, prior to departure.

Places are limited, meaning we will be looking for stand out applications that have been well thought out.

Should your application be unsuccessful we will let you know in writing. We will also provide feedback as to why your application was unsuccessful this time.

If you have any queries regarding Te Pōkai Ao, please contact the Pōkai Ao Coordinator by ringing 0800 KĀI TAHU or via email at [email protected]