In 2008 Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou launched www.ngatiporou.com into cyberspace. During that time the site was fresh and new, and a marked improvement on previous incarnations of the organisation’s online presence www.tronp.iwi.nz. However just like life, the digital world is everchanging and what was once novel can quickly become out-dated. After six years of operation it was due to give ngatiporou.com an entire overhaul, and at the beginning of 2014 the “reboot” process began.
The web re-development project was headed by Allan Jensen, Chief Financial Officer for Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou. To execute the project Allan formed a core team which comprised of Trudy Lewis (TRONPnui Web Project Co-ordinator), Marcus Llloyd ( TRONPnui IT Manager) and Jasmine Kaa (TRONPnui Communications Officer). In this age of rapidly advancing technology and globally mobile communities, the team recognised that the new site was going to play a vital tool in helping to engage and connect with 70,000 plus Ngati Porou Iwi members. The new site would also have to appeal and cater to the wide range of ages, interests and geographical locations of members within this group.
Below: A web workshop in session. Left–right: Marcus Lloyd (TRONPnui IT Manager), Karen Monks (Pikselin), Teepa Wawatai (TRONPnui CEO), Jasmine Kaa (TRONPnui Communications Officer and Allan Jensen (TRONPnui CFO).
The discovery process
The first step in the re-development was to undertake a “Discovery” phase. This process was facilitated in January and February by Pikselin, a Wellington based company who would later go on to build the site. The discovery phase would help determine the new site’s look and feel, the identification of different user-types and its main functionalities. But most importantly through this process the team established two central philosophies which would guide the direction of the site going forward.
A Home for Ngati Porou
The first guiding principle was that the vision of ngatiporou.com would be to create “a space where Ngati Porou feel at home – no matter where they are”. A home where Ngati Porou felt comfortable to be themselves, as well as see themselves reflected back in the imagery, korero and perspectives represented on the site. A home where the Iwi’s unique cultural identity is expressed. The second guiding principle was that it wouldn’t be a “website.” Or more specifically a corporate brochure website, indistinguishable from other tribal websites. Instead ngatiporou.com would become “a platform for Ngati Porou to share their ideas and korero, collaborate with each other, and encourage collective decision-making and dialogue.” A platform which would (like the Iwi) continually evolve, grow and be enriched by the collective contribution of Iwi members. A platform which could also help enable our whanau, hapu and marae communities.
Below: Trudy Lewis (TRONPnui Web project Co-ordinator), Steve Barnard (Pikselin), Taryne Papuni (TRONPnui Web Content Assistant) and Aman Pilgrim (Pikselin).
These two central ideas of “Home” and “Platform” helpedto inspire the mahi executed by the web project team over the ensuing months. This mahi also involved many other contributors who included writers, photographers, historians, web professionals, community members and others who helped in some way, shape or form. Fast forward to Friday 28th of November, 2014 and ngatiporou.com (version 2.0) was finally ready to be launched into the world. It was also joined by new TRONPnui official social media channels, which provided additional forums to engage and connect with Ngati Porou. The next day the site was also presented to Ngati Porou at the TRONPnui Hui a Tau in Tokomaru Bay by web project co-ordinator, Trudy Lewis (see image below).
A collaborative work in progress
The story of the development of ngatiporou.com doesn’t end here however. The digital portal (unlike this article if you’re reading it in print format), does not have a finite beginning, middle or end, nor is it confined by the limitations of space and time. Ngatiporou.com is an evolving, collaborative piece of work, which through the collective contribution of Ngati Porou will be continually enhanced and elaborated upon.
“Ma tou rourou, Ma toku rourou, Ka ora ai te Iwi.”