Hoping top tech brains will help endangered Raukumara

Hopes are high technology will come to the aid of a remote and endangered forest on the East Coast, with hundreds of tech experts due to gather in Gisborne this weekend.

The second annual Hack Tairawhiti hackathon gets under way tomorrow, featuring eight businesses and more than 100 business leaders, technologists, creatives, designers, entrepreneurs and investors, all of whom will choose one problem to solve in the space of 48 hours.

One of the potential problems for them to solve has been suggested by Ngati Porou Holdings Company project manager Ani Pahuru-Huriwai, who wants to stop the extinction of the 110,000ha Raukumara Forest Park, which is under attack from introduced pests and climate change. The forest’s ecosystem is collapsing and her challenge for Hack Tairawhiti is for a team to come up with a solution to save indigenous forests.

“Help us save the dying Raukumara Forest Park. Experts say there might be less than 10 years to save it.

“At 110,000ha it is one of the most remote and inaccessible forests in New Zealand, suffering tremendous and growing pest destruction. The Hack Tairawhiti is an opportunity for the iwi, as kaitiaki of the Raukumara and the best tech brains in the country to find an innovative approach to a massive problem.”

She got the idea when watching her son and his friend playing the popular videogame Fortnite. It occurred to her that there might be a solution using technology. What if our rangatahi who are so good on Fortnite, were actually shooting pests like possums, pigs, deer and rats, from the safety of their homes, and getting paid for it?

“I heard about the Hackathon after last year’s one and I thought there might be opportunities to find a solution, with all these tech brains from around the country combining their powers with the Department of Conservation.

“The survival of the Raukumara is high on the radar of the iwi, but its remoteness and rugged terrain also raise safety issues when contemplating sending people in to carry out pest eradication. The use of 1080 is also a highly contentious issue.

“I thought it would be good to take the opportunity, while we have all these amazing people in Gisborne, to help us solve a local problem that’s not going to go away.

“I guess we are looking for lots of different solutions and this could be one. Our forest is under pressure but so are a lot of forests around the world. So, it’s a global problem and potentially, if we get it right here, it could have an impact on other forests throughout the world.”

The Hackathon is a 48-hour competition that requires teams to develop a commercial solution to a business problem — and importantly, a solution that can be taken to the world.

The Hackathon is organised by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and Datacom, along with their supporting regional and technology partners.

Hopes are high technology will come to the aid of a remote and endangered forest on the East Coast, with hundreds of tech experts due to gather in Gisborne this weekend.

The second annual Hack Tairawhiti hackathon gets under way tomorrow, featuring eight businesses and more than 100 business leaders, technologists, creatives, designers, entrepreneurs and investors, all of whom will choose one problem to solve in the space of 48 hours.

One of the potential problems for them to solve has been suggested by Ngati Porou Holdings Company project manager Ani Pahuru-Huriwai, who wants to stop the extinction of the 110,000ha Raukumara Forest Park, which is under attack from introduced pests and climate change. The forest’s ecosystem is collapsing and her challenge for Hack Tairawhiti is for a team to come up with a solution to save indigenous forests.

“Help us save the dying Raukumara Forest Park. Experts say there might be less than 10 years to save it.

“At 110,000ha it is one of the most remote and inaccessible forests in New Zealand, suffering tremendous and growing pest destruction. The Hack Tairawhiti is an opportunity for the iwi, as kaitiaki of the Raukumara and the best tech brains in the country to find an innovative approach to a massive problem.”

She got the idea when watching her son and his friend playing the popular videogame Fortnite. It occurred to her that there might be a solution using technology. What if our rangatahi who are so good on Fortnite, were actually shooting pests like possums, pigs, deer and rats, from the safety of their homes, and getting paid for it?

“I heard about the Hackathon after last year’s one and I thought there might be opportunities to find a solution, with all these tech brains from around the country combining their powers with the Department of Conservation.

“The survival of the Raukumara is high on the radar of the iwi, but its remoteness and rugged terrain also raise safety issues when contemplating sending people in to carry out pest eradication. The use of 1080 is also a highly contentious issue.

“I thought it would be good to take the opportunity, while we have all these amazing people in Gisborne, to help us solve a local problem that’s not going to go away.

“I guess we are looking for lots of different solutions and this could be one. Our forest is under pressure but so are a lot of forests around the world. So, it’s a global problem and potentially, if we get it right here, it could have an impact on other forests throughout the world.”

The Hackathon is a 48-hour competition that requires teams to develop a commercial solution to a business problem — and importantly, a solution that can be taken to the world.

The Hackathon is organised by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and Datacom, along with their supporting regional and technology partners.

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