ASCILITE23 series: Getting to know our keynotes – Karaitiana Taiuru

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Technological advancements must work toward everyone’s benefit. No individual or community should be left behind. Working towards creating an equitable environment in a digital world is our next keynote speaker Karaitiana Taiuru, a champion of Māori digital rights and data sovereignty. He has  authored scientific and clinical guidelines for Māori genetic researchers and has written extensively on Māori Data Sovereignty and emerging tech.


We began by asking him about his journey.


Traditional Māori cultural knowledge, Sovereignty and other rights afforded to Māori are not subjects one can learn at any educational facility. Instead, I learnt these topics from life experiences as a child through to adulthood. The move into the Tech sector occurred in the mid 1990’s when I was involved as a Māori developer with Database administration.  I became interested in global Internet governance and Indigenous rights, a role that allowed me to travel the world sharing my knowledge with other Indigenous Peoples and contributing to global policies.

I dedicated my PhD research to emerging technologies and Māori/Indigenous sovereignty of biological data such as genetics and genomics that have many similarities with digital data.

For the past 2 years, I have been working at my consulting company, having spent over a decade building it up part-time. I specialise with Māori rights with AI, data, digital, emerging technologies and as an academic researcher.


My primary focus is to provide Māori and Indigenous perspectives on new and emerging technologies that can assist and complement human educationalists.  I strongly believe that we need human resources while harnessing digital technologies. This new technology revolution can decolonise and empower Māori and other Indigenous Peoples provided there are avenues to collaborate.


Data sovereignty is the notion that data should be subject to the authority, laws, and governance of the nation – the people and the place – from which it is sourced. Indigenous Data Sovereignty states that data  should be controlled by those Indigenous Peoples nations from whom it’s collected. Māori Data Sovereignty recognises that data about or produced by Māori, should be subject to Māori control and governance consistent with rangatiratanga and tikanga Māori. This is also recognised and guaranteed in New Zealand’s constitutional documents He Whakaputanga (Declaration of Independence) and Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi.


AI can serve minorities and those for whom the traditional learning system does not cater well, such as Māori and Indigenous. Research and collaboration with these communities will create new strategies to empower these groups. We have seen LLM’s ability to store and process large amounts of data, allowing people to learn some new subjects.

More importantly, we all must be brave and embrace this new technology (r)evolution and harness new ideas and possibilities, while also accepting that our current roles may change, meaning we will need to apply our skills in different ways.

The basis of my keynote is that we are at a crossroads of a new (r)evolution that will either re-colonise or empower Māori and Indigenous communities. That can happen only with active partnerships with providers and Māori Indigenous communities who have faced the greatest inequities in education. These collaborative efforts that enable reviewing and co-designing new pedagogies, will help educators to be more innovative.

It is important that professionals get to upskill, share knowledge and attend conferences such as ASCILITE so that they are aware of the latest global trends and are able to get new ideas that are not possible when working alone.