Fostering belonging and inclusion online
Ciara Arnot Community Advisor •
ActionStation is an independent community campaigning organisation with a mission to tautoko (support) and whakamana (uplift) New Zealanders to act together in powerful and coordinated ways to create what we cannot achieve on our own.
In 2018/19 they launched their Tauiwi Tautoko project as a way to address racism on the Internet. They see Tangata Tiriti, Pākehā, and Tauiwi as each having an important role to play in anti-racism. Working in collaboration with Dr. Emily Beausoleil from Victoria University, the 10 week Tauiwi Tautoko programme equips volunteers with evidence based listening and messaging techniques to have more caring, thoughtful and informed interactions online.
In 2020, InternetNZ provided funding to support their Tauiwi Tautoko webinar series which offered a way to expand this growing community. The series was designed to reduce the proliferation of online hate toward Māori and increase New Zealanders’ understanding of Māori culture, knowledge and aspirations.
Navigating what it means to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi has been at the core of this work. ActionStation’s Ann Cloet said “This has become the inspiration for the first webinar because we thought that we must not be alone in this. Therefore, this has been an iterative process of trying to ascertain what is tika and pono to us as an organisation.”
She describes the project as moving at the pace of relationships, respecting Māori inside and outside the organisation. Their approach tries to take the burden of addressing structural racism off of Māori, so that Māori can spend their time focusing on what matters to them.
Acknowledging that they are not a kaupapa Māori organisation, they have focused on recognising the existing tino rangatiratanga of Māori, addressing the structural racism that impacts Māori, and encouraging Tangata Tiriti to take responsibility in this work.
The webinars covered a range of topics, fostering inclusion and belonging for Māori by providing educational material on Te Tiriti o Waitangi, tino rangatiratanga and how it relates to different kaupapa. The idea has been to encourage people to tautoko Māori initiatives and campaigns while building relationships with other individuals and organisations doing similar work. Their final session had over 2000 registered participants, and further InternetNZ funding will enable new webinars to be produced with added accessibility features to mitigate barriers.
2021 saw them host a series of 5 webinars.
Each year InternetNZ uses profits from the sale of .nz domain names to give out community funding. They provide funding for community-led initiatives that extend the availability, use, and benefit of the Internet in Aotearoa.
This initiative was the recipient of funding in 2020. View the final report from this project.