Maori tribe thrives in a cloud

New Zealand Māori tribe Ngai Tamanuhiri used the first enterprise cloud solution for tribes powered by to help settle its historic grievances under the Treaty of Waitangi.

A New Zealand Maori tribe, or iwi, has boosted engagement with members from just 25 percent to 95 percent through a new cloud-based software suite.

The Ngai Tāmanuhiri iwi invested in a software system called Iwi Connect, powered by and built by developer and service provider Fronde. The software helps the iwi, based in Poverty Bay on the North Island's east coast, to communicate with members, understand their needs, and protect and preserve historical and archival material.

But the software's first task was to help the tribe settle its historic claims under the Treaty of Waitangi process. The treaty was signed with tribes in 1840, but ignored and abused until the 1970s, when a settlement process was created to address grievances, and is now widely considered to be New Zealand's founding document.

Mere Takoko, business development manager for Ngai Tāmanuhiri Trust, said that the treaty settlement process required iwi to consult its people living away from the tribal area, but the trust had no means of quickly communicating with members to canvas their opinions or share information.

It also had masses of archived material, some of it kept in a shipping container, that it wanted to digitise and store for members to access.

"The tribe can now securely adopt campaigns and announce important events, share business opportunities, and interact with Iwi members, friends, and users," Takako said. "It also has vital communication tools to meet its legal obligations to manage assets on behalf of the Iwi."

In partnership with Fronde, Iwi Connect has been launched to help other tribes to communicate with their people, and to promote and revitalise Te Reo, the Maori language.

Fronde built iwi Connect into a comprehensive database and archive of important information about the iwi, its members, and what matters to them. It includes an iwi register and a digital survey tool and voting system which can be accessed through a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Takako said Ngai Tāmanuhiri now has a better idea of who it represents and its resources. Administration costs have been cut, and more time is spent engaging and communicating with members.

"Iwi Connect has made a tremendous difference to Ngai Tāmanuhiri. We are very happy with the solution, and are working hard to make it available to other iwi around New Zealand, who have similar needs," she said.