East Coast students embark on a journey to Google’s headquarters

By Taroi Black

For some students, the toughest subjects at school were maths and science. But what if you were given an opportunity to visit some of the most famous headquarters in America such as Google and Facebook. A group of East Coast students are already embarking on that journey to the States, thanks to Ngāti Porou leaders who are aiming to build a better future for their people.

Te Kāea followed 10 lucky students before they took off to California.

“I'm looking forward to the experiences and learning all the new skill overseas. I'm really excited,” says Te KKM o te Waiū o Ngāti Porou student Te Paea Dalton Reedy,

“The latest creations, all the new things. What do you think they are? Things that haven't been made yet,’ says fellow student Kaitiaki Walker-McClutchie.

Silicon Valley, a place they'll be visiting on their overseas trip. It's one of the best technological hubs in the world. The trip was initiated by NZQA and Callaghan Innovation which gives these lucky representatives an opportunity to develop their skills in science, technology, engineering and maths.

TKKM o Kawakawa Mai i Tawhiti Principal Campbell Wananga-Dewes, Tūmuaki says, “Only a few Māori students choose to learn about science, technology and maths these days. So, we hope they'll return home from this experience with the desire planted within them to pursue these pathways, and develop their skills in the world of technology.

TKKM o te Waiū o Ngāti Porou Teacher Gerry Heeney says, “They will go to see with their own eyes and spirit.  They will experience everything at the different places, like Google and Stanford University.”

The programme is called STEM which encourages students from schools like Te Wharekura o Mauao, who travelled over last year for an inspirational journey and encourage them with their educational choices.

“Next year they will enter as year 11 students and start NCEA Level 1, up to NCEA 2 or 3,” says Heeney.

“Hopefully we will get a work opportunity because we've left school having learnt STEM subjects,” says Reedy.

The students have also been sponsored by Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Porou Holdings.

“We want to open the mindset of the children to new pathways in science, maths, technology within the world of computers,” says Wananga-Dewes.

And then the group sent a friendly video of their travel.