Ngai Tahu group visits Silicon Valley

SAN FRAN BOUND: Olly Cranefield from Gisborne Boys’ High School was one of 22 Year 9 and 10 students chosen to represent Ngai Tahu on a trip to San Francisco’s Silicon Valley. Picture supplied
Olly, with some of the Ngai Tahu group at Facebook in San Francisco. Picture supplied

GISBORNE Boys’ High School student Olly Cranefield has just returned from the trip of a lifetime to Silicon Valley in San Francisco, where he was part of a group of Ngai Tahu iwi representatives from around New Zealand. Olly was chosen to attend Te Pokai Ao (travel the world), in July.

He had to independently complete a written application and submit a 30-second video identifying causes and solutions to a problem in his community. Olly investigated the causes and possible solutions for improving water quality in the Tairawhiti region after visiting Rere Rockslide and finding it unsafe for swimming.

The Ngai Tahu-based initiative encourages and supports rangatahi to explore and strengthen their passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) areas of learning and the ways in which these subjects could help to solve local, national and international problems. Of the 22 Year 9 and 10 students who went on the trip, Olly was the only representative from Tairawhiti.

The rangatahi met in Christchurch twice before they headed to Silicon Valley, San Francisco. They discussed the ways in which the world has changed and the pace at which it continues to change, and explored the importance of their generation and the opportunities STEM provided them.

“I think the biggest impact for me was that I’ve become strongly connected to my iwi and other Ngai Tahu rangatahi. Before this opportunity, I had never even visited my marae. The fact that I will be presenting to my iwi at my own marae, with my close whanau, is awesome.”

Innovation and creativity

The group visited Google, Facebook, NASA, Intel, Globality and Berkeley & Stanford universities. Olly says they were blown away by the high levels of innovation and creativity that he was exposed to.

“This trip opened my eyes and always has me looking for new opportunities. I’m waiting, searching and willing to grab an opportunity when it comes by.”

Olly will be meeting with the group one last time in Christchurch at the end of this month where they will give a presentation at Hui- a-Iwi, Ngai Tahu’s biennial festival.

One of his special memories was giving a pounamu (greenstone) pendant to their guide at Google and reciting a whakatauki while doing so. The whakatauki he chose was ‘E rere te huata, kapohia! When the spear flies, snatch it!’ It refers to making the most of opportunities when they present themselves.

Not only has Olly connected with his iwi and made new friends through this experience but he has been inspired to learn Te Reo. He and his mother Rachel Duckworth have embarked on their journey of learning the language from a friend who is fluent.

Ms Duckworth, her daughter, and mother will be accompanying Olly to Christchurch and it will be the first time they have been to their marae, making it even more significant.

“Olly’s experience has given the whole whanau an opportunity to develop connectedness with their Ngai Tahu heritage. More importantly, it has provided my kids a realistic pathway to embrace, understand and develop their cultural identity further,” Ms Duckworth said.



GISBORNE Boys’ High School student Olly Cranefield has just returned from the trip of a lifetime to Silicon Valley in San Francisco, where he was part of a group of Ngai Tahu iwi representatives from around New Zealand. Olly was chosen to attend Te Pokai Ao (travel the world), in July.

He had to independently complete a written application and submit a 30-second video identifying causes and solutions to a problem in his community. Olly investigated the causes and possible solutions for improving water quality in the Tairawhiti region after visiting Rere Rockslide and finding it unsafe for swimming.

The Ngai Tahu-based initiative encourages and supports rangatahi to explore and strengthen their passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) areas of learning and the ways in which these subjects could help to solve local, national and international problems. Of the 22 Year 9 and 10 students who went on the trip, Olly was the only representative from Tairawhiti.

The rangatahi met in Christchurch twice before they headed to Silicon Valley, San Francisco. They discussed the ways in which the world has changed and the pace at which it continues to change, and explored the importance of their generation and the opportunities STEM provided them.

“I think the biggest impact for me was that I’ve become strongly connected to my iwi and other Ngai Tahu rangatahi. Before this opportunity, I had never even visited my marae. The fact that I will be presenting to my iwi at my own marae, with my close whanau, is awesome.”

Innovation and creativity

The group visited Google, Facebook, NASA, Intel, Globality and Berkeley & Stanford universities. Olly says they were blown away by the high levels of innovation and creativity that he was exposed to.

“This trip opened my eyes and always has me looking for new opportunities. I’m waiting, searching and willing to grab an opportunity when it comes by.”

Olly will be meeting with the group one last time in Christchurch at the end of this month where they will give a presentation at Hui- a-Iwi, Ngai Tahu’s biennial festival.

One of his special memories was giving a pounamu (greenstone) pendant to their guide at Google and reciting a whakatauki while doing so. The whakatauki he chose was ‘E rere te huata, kapohia! When the spear flies, snatch it!’ It refers to making the most of opportunities when they present themselves.

Not only has Olly connected with his iwi and made new friends through this experience but he has been inspired to learn Te Reo. He and his mother Rachel Duckworth have embarked on their journey of learning the language from a friend who is fluent.

Ms Duckworth, her daughter, and mother will be accompanying Olly to Christchurch and it will be the first time they have been to their marae, making it even more significant.

“Olly’s experience has given the whole whanau an opportunity to develop connectedness with their Ngai Tahu heritage. More importantly, it has provided my kids a realistic pathway to embrace, understand and develop their cultural identity further,” Ms Duckworth said.



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