Storytelling in the digital era - students graduate from Meta and Whāriki digital marketing scholarship

By Nick McDonnell, Head of Public Policy for Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific Islands


A cohort of rangatahi (young people) have graduated from Te Mātātahi, a Meta and Whāriki Māori Business Network initiative based on Meta’s Blueprint Digital Marketing Associate Certification and supplemented with career advice from leading creative and digital marketing agencies, at a ceremony attended by Minister Willie Jackson. The programme offered digital marketing fundamentals and practical tools, and with Whāriki’s support, an insight into projects that incorporate a Te Ao Māori lens.

Students spent time visiting digital and creative agencies, before coming together to celebrate their graduation with Meta, Whāriki, creative and marketing agencies, and receive their certificates from Minister Jackson.

Listening to feedback from graduates and their agency mentors, Te Mātātahi has had a significant impact in supporting the next generation of Māori digital marketers, helping them discover potential career pathways and what it’s like working in this industry.

Minister Willie Jackson noted, “We need people who have been trained, who have some experience, but also know their taha Māori side, their Māori identities, to be able to tell our stories. Our stories have been restricted through the years, not coming out through mainstream media, just coming out in terms of Māori media. Well done to Meta and well done to Whāriki for supporting such an initiative.”

One graduate Cain Palmer-Jubb (Ngātiwai) said, “Te Mātātahi has helped me dive deeper into my Māoritanga, while discovering my love for the digital space. This programme has helped me take the next step to becoming a digital marketing expert.”

Heta Hudson, Whāriki Chairperson, said the programme has allowed rangatahi to develop their digital marketing skills and understanding of the industry, as well as connect with potential future employers in the digital marketing industry. Meta and Whāriki have co-created this initiative, using our respective technical and industry network strengths.

“It’s been a privilege to help enable rangatahi Māori to learn the skills they need to dive into a constantly-evolving industry that's keen for fresh Māori talent and their perspectives."

"We hope this opportunity will allow graduates to step into an exciting career in the digital and marketing industries with authenticity," he says, "It’s been very special  to be a part of their journey."

Another student, Keani Erstich-Cole (Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Takoto, Ngāti Kahu) said, “Te Mātātahi” has been an uplifting and motivating experience, that has allowed myself and other tauira on this haerenga to see ourselves in the digital marketing space and beyond.

It has reaffirmed the sentiment that being Māori in all spaces and places is and should always be valued.”

Te Mātātahi follows on from a series of successful workshops for Māori-owned small businesses over the past two years, again in partnership with Whāriki Māori Business Network.

“Technology lowers the barrier to entry and can be transformative, not just for businesses, advertisers and community groups, but also for people looking to develop careers in a sector that previously may have not been an option. Scale, traditional career pathways and other hurdles are no longer the barriers they used to be. We’re looking forward to seeing what this cohort of rangatahi achieves” said Nick McDonnell, Head of Public Policy for New Zealand.

Meta and Whāriki team up to support digital marketing pathways for young people

Nick McDonnell, Head of Policy, New Zealand and Pacific Islands

We are proud to sponsor and collaborate with our long-standing partners, Whāriki Māori Business Network, to launch Te Mātātahi, a pilot programme for rangatahi (young people) interested in a career pathway into the digital marketing, media and creative sectors.

The kaupapa (work) builds on our partnership with Whāriki in 2021 which delivered a nationwide series of ‘Boost with Facebook’ in-person training and workshops, supporting Māori small business owners with digital marketing tools to help them thrive online.

Starting on 29 August, Te Mātātahi will support 30 Māori youth people aged between 18-25 years old, with the aim of helping them grow into tomorrow’s digital industry leaders.

The Mātātahi programme is the first of a kind for Meta, as we look to support Aotearoa New Zealand’s thriving digital economy. Content and tutorials will be tailored to the needs of the participants, building capability in digital marketing and gaining a professional certification in digital marketing through Meta’s Blueprint programme. Alongside the Meta team of experts, the live online learning sessions will include ‘real-world’ insights from Māori creatives, agencies, and organisations, so participants can discover more about potential career pathways and what it is like working in digital marketing through a Te Ao Māori lens. The programme will have a face-to-face element connecting with professional digital marketing and creative agencies, and a graduation ceremony.

Heta Hudson, Whāriki Chairperson, says the two-month pilot programme will provide the initial career pathway for rangatahi into high-value, future-focused industries.

“The growth of the digital marketing industry provides a range of exciting opportunities for rangatahi to thrive, both locally and globally. We are excited to work with our ongoing partners, Meta, to bring this world-first programme to Aotearoa and provide pathways for the next generation. In the words of Apirana Ngata, “E tipu e rea mo ngā rā o tō ao” (Grow and thrive for the days destined to you).

We are excited to continue working with Whāriki, who will provide support to participants, and welcome the first cohort of students to the programme.

Applications are currently open and will close on 12 August, with successful candidates starting the programme at the end of the month. To apply visit



Meta and NZ Blood Service team up to boost blood donations

Nick McDonnell, Head of Public Policy (New Zealand and Pacific Islands) – December 8, 2021


Meta is excited to partner with the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) to launch the Blood Donations feature so that Facebook users can sign up to be notified of nearby opportunities to give blood and plasma.

Our support comes as NZBS is appealing to Kiwis to save a life this summer and not wait to book an appointment to donate.

Only four per cent of the eligible population in New Zealand currently donates, and the Blood Donations feature on Facebook will help to make opportunities to give blood more visible and accessible to our community of over three million New Zealanders.

Donating blood is one of the most selfless things you can do and by removing small barriers to doing so, such as knowing where and how to donate, we hope that this feature will make a huge difference.

Asuka Burge, National Marketing and Communications Manager at NZBS says, “Every 18 minutes in New Zealand, someone will experience an ‘unseen emergency’ and need lifesaving blood and plasma.”

“To ensure we are able to continue to meet demand, every week we have over 4,000 appointments to fill, and there are over 300 places to donate blood throughout the year. We know one barrier to donation is often knowing where and how to donate, so we are calling on all eligible Kiwis, no matter where in New Zealand they’re enjoying their summer holiday break, to sign up to the Facebook Blood Donations feature to receive updates about giving blood and notifications about opportunities to donate near you. Encourage your Facebook friends and family to do the same, and help us save lives together.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve seen how Kiwis come together on Facebook to help each other. The feature launching today is another way that we can use Facebook to look out for our fellow Kiwis.

‘Don’t Be a Mis-influencer’ toolkit launches for New Zealand creators

Nick McDonnell, Head of Public Policy (New Zealand and Pacific Islands) – November 24, 2021


With Kiwis spending more time using social media over lockdown to connect with friends and whānau, play games, work,  study and to follow their favourite creators and groups, we know that people are also accessing a range of information sources whilst online. We are always working to ensure that credible information is promoted and creators can play a role in this too.

That’s why today we are announcing a toolkit, created in partnership with the misinformation prevention coalition, First Draft. The ‘Protect Your Voice’ toolkit provides creators and other high profile accounts with resources to prevent the spread of misinformation on their own accounts, and to help amplify that message to their followers.

Content creator David Letele AKA Buttabean Motivation (@buttabean_motivation) is one of the first creators to share the campaign on his Facebook and Instagram today.

David says, “People trust us and that creates a responsibility for creators, especially those with a large following. We must make sure that COVID-related information is accurate before sharing it, or we risk providing potentially harmful or misleading information to our followers and their loved ones.”

Available now on the campaign site, the ‘Protect Your Voice’ toolkit provides creators with guidance and practical steps about:

  • Why people spread misinformation
  • How to talk to, or avoid, conversations about conspiracy theories
  • The types of deceptive content to look out for
  • How to verify the authenticity of content
  • How to combat misinformation.

Today’s announcement follows a list of changes to policies, new tools and other measures we have launched in New Zealand since the start of the pandemic.

These include, supporting organisations with additional social media training and providing advertising credits to support Government agencies like Unite Against Covid-19, Ministry of Health, Te Puni Kōkiri and UNICEF to promote authoritative health information on covid-19 and the vaccine.

Education is also really important to help our community to spot misinformation, to support our community to do this we’ve rolled out education campaigns to help Kiwis learn skills to spot and prevent sharing misinformation. We also continue to partner with NGOs like NetSafe to address misinformation raised by New Zealanders and partner with our third-party fact-checking partners to reduce the spread of misinformation on our platforms.

To learn more about how Meta is supporting COVID-19 relief efforts and keeping people informed, visit our COVID-19 action page.

The Story of Creation: The Ngā Atua Māori Project

Lee Timutimu, CEO and Founder, Arataki Systems – November 11, 2021


Kia ora! Ko Lee Timutimu tōku ingoa. My name is Lee Timutimu, and I’m a digital native from Aotearoa New Zealand. I affiliate with the Māori tribes of Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Te Rangi, Tūhoe and Ngāti Porou.

In our culture, knowledge, and information is passed down from generation to generation through stories. Ours is an oral tradition and I’ve dedicated the last 12 years of my life to reviving our oral tradition of storytelling as well as revitalizing our pūrākau (ancient stories) through a Māori storytelling collective that I founded called Te Reo Wainene o Tua.

Through the company we founded Arataki (A Māori owned, whānau (family) owned tech company ) our goal has been to bridge the cultural gap between communities by sharing our stories with as many people as possible.

I’m a strong believer that using tech to tell our stories will enable us to share at scale and achieve this goal. Arataki effectively represents the convergence of my two passions which are Māori storytelling and technology.

When we were approached by Meta to participate in this project, I must admit it felt a little surreal. Not often (if ever) do we get approached with an opportunity to collaborate with one of the world’s largest tech conglomerates!

But such a task came with a massive responsibility – as kaitiaki to ensure that we are retelling the stories of our tūpuna or ancestors authentically and respectfully. It is so very important to us that we always represent and retell our pūrākau correctly and appropriately in anything and everything we do.

We chose to tell this – Our creation story. It’s the ancient story or pūrākau where our existence began. It is the story that began all stories in our culture. Our thought process in using this story was simple. The creation story does not belong to any one individual, group, or collective. It belongs to all Māori.

We felt it was safe to represent this particular story since we whakapapa Māori (we are Māori, and have genealogical ties to Māori). In doing so, it was imperative that we not use a story that was linked to any one individual, tribe, or location, because simply put they are not our stories to tell, nor do we have the mandate to do so.

My sincere hope that this mahi (work) and our partnership with Meta will inspire our Rangatahi Māori (Māori youth) to do the same.

I think our work with this project goes a long way to emphasizing this empowering message to our Rangatahi, as well as other Māori tech companies, by showing them that if Arataki can do it, they can do it too. Similarly, I also hope that our work here inspires other Indigenous tech companies around the globe to do the same.

This is important to us because it’s crucial that we maintain control and creative license over our stories and narrative. Indigenous stories need to be told by their people and maintain the authenticity, provenance, and Mana (credibility). It also demonstrates our capability and capacity as a small Māori owned tech company is partnering with a global conglomerate like Meta and using their platforms to tell our story in our way.

We hope it informs and educates our non-Māori audience about our Tikanga (culture) and Te Reo (language). We hope this project helps to bridge the cultural divide, and not just locally here in NZ, but around the globe as well.

“In the beginning, there was Te Kore, or the great void, a void where nothing was felt or possessed, but in the void was energy and potential.”

From nothing, came the spark for an idea. From that idea, came the potential for creative collaboration between Arataki and Meta. And from that creative idea came a wonderfully crafted digital representation of our creation story Ngā Atua Māori!

The project was created alongside Meta, Meshminds Foundation, Andrew Baker, and my brothers and fellow indigenous storytellers at Māui Studios, and my Te Reo Wainene o Tua storyteller collective and Anzac Reihana Tasker.

Arohanui ki a koutou katoa.


Lee is CEO & Founder of Arataki Systems. He’s worked in the IT industry for almost 20 years, primarily in the IT support services space. He has deep networks and relationships into the Māori tech ecosystem and public and private sectors in Aotearoa NZ. He’s also the Founder of Te Reo Wainene o Tua, Co-Founder of Ko Maui Hangarau and Kaihautū of the Māori Tech Association. Lee was born and raised in Whakatāne, but now lives with his whānau in Kirikiriroa (Hamilton).

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