Grants announcement — an Internet that benefits
Ciara Arnot Community Advisor •
We have been increasingly concerned with online hate and violent extremism in the last couple of years. As the home and guardian of .nz domain names, we have the privilege and responsibility to provide funding back to the Internet community to benefit Aotearoa. The community team recently held kōrero with community members impacted by this malignant force, helping us understand concerns. We want to share some of the projects awarded funding, which look to amplify some of the positive elements of the online world — empowerment, belonging and compassion.
Courageous Conversation Aotearoa Foundation®, Virtual Courageous Conversation™: Mana Wāhine, for a safer, more productive Internet Community
Courageous Conversation Aotearoa Foundation® is on a mission to elevate racial consciousness through interracial dialogue. Executive Director, Sarah Smith, who is of Ngāti Kuri, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Rehia, Ngā Puhi and Te Aupōuri ancestry, steers the Foundation to assist and support communities throughout Aotearoa to pursue authentic treaty-based relationships, racial healing and social justice.
In May, they will run a two-day online workshop with follow-up support in partnership with the Courageous Conversation™ South Pacific Institute. This programme aims to hear and amplify the voices of Wāhine Māori, to come together in community for opportunities for mana-enhancing interactions that focus on race and racial healing.
The decision to initially serve Wāhine Māori is in response to the rise in online hate that has exacerbated pressures and increased racial tensions on this community. As a result of the persistent attacks on social media on Wāhine Māori, this targeted session will empower key community leaders who can model intentional practices to engage in healthy and productive conversations about race, both online and in person.
Grounded in Te Tiriti, the Courageous Conversations About Race™ programme offers a protocol for healthy and productive conversations about race and racism, deepening our collective understanding of racial equity.
Inclusive Aotearoa Collective Tāhono, Establishing and supporting Inclusive Aotearoa Constellations
The Inclusive Aotearoa Collective Tāhono [IACT] was formed in 2019 out of the conviction that Aotearoa New Zealand is a diverse country and from that diversity we are a stronger and richer nation.
In 2021 they held a two-day wānanga online - Tāhono: He Wānanga Tuhonohono – Wayfinding for Belonging. It brought together individuals and organisations from across the motu, to join the social change journey. Following on from this event, and more sessions to come, they will be using a Constellation model. As Constellations develop they will be able to progress critical activities that emerged from the Wānanga, including a focus on harnessing the Internet to support Te Tiriti conversations and address racism.
IACT was developed around the powerful concepts of connection, kinship and belonging. The grant money will provide seed funding so the Constellation partners can act in the interests of the communities they serve and foster belonging in Aotearoa New Zealand. More broadly, this will also allow IACT to better connect with the media to amplify the voices of marginalised communities.
Canterbury Muslim Community Trust, Using Aroha to Transform Hate in Aotearoa
Since surviving the horrific events of the 15 March attacks in Otautahi Christchurch, Deputy Chair Dr Mazharuddin Syed Ahmed has developed an educational course to teach the importance of aroha and understand the dangers of hate speech and acts of prejudice in New Zealand. For delivery in person and online, the content includes:
- Understanding human biases, prejudice, and discrimination
- Identifying triggers of hate and prejudicial patterns prevailing in social media, new articles, and news blog feeds
- Understanding how small acts of prejudice can escalate to extreme violence
- Impact of social media in globalising hate speech, inc. cyberbullying, cyberhate, racism and other forms of discrimination (relevant especially to the younger generation)
- Ways to spread awareness, act against hate/prejudice, discrimination, and defamation
The training will be tailored for different audiences and developed for government agencies, professional organisations, academia, communities, and common citizens. Dr Ahmed will continue to iterate on the course he has been teaching in mini-workshop form since 2019, consulting with stakeholders within each target audience group and taking into consideration remote delivery.
The course will enable the people of Aotearoa New Zealand to recognise hate speech and incitement to violence and terrorism and provide them with the tools to deal with it. Building resources from the foundational principle of aroha will make our communities more resilient and proactively mitigate the adverse effects of hate.
The Canterbury Muslim Community Trust supports the local Muslim community through fact finding, community engagement and liaison with support agencies.
Humanity Matters New Zealand, Online Antisemitism in New Zealand
Chris Harris, former teacher and CEO of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand, recently launched Humanity Matters New Zealand. An organisation for social change, he hopes to address the lack of education in New Zealand schools on the topic of Humanity.
“Everything starts with education because the seeds of racism and discrimination are planted young. We must educate our tamariki about the rich diversity of this world, that being ‘different’ isn’t really that different at all. That it’s our rich diversity -our one Humanity - that ultimately makes us all stronger” he says.
With a primary focus on human rights in the key areas of misinformation, race, ethnicity, sexuality and gender, and a specialisation in genocide, a key objective of Humanity Matters NZ is to provide curriculum-based materials for teachers on human rights, misinformation and case studies on genocides around the world.
InternetNZ funding will specifically support research on identifying the impact of online dangerous speech in Aotearoa on the local Jewish community which is due to begin late April with a report to be completed by August, this will also include experts who will share their knowledge on what is happening. Seeking to understand the issues underpinning online antisemitism in an Aotearoa context, the project will go towards producing educational strategies designed to combat online abuse. Data from this research will be a critical input for developing a set of tools that could potentially support other minority communities in pursuing similar strategies. Covid-19 and the constant lines drawn between the nationwide vaccination campaign and the atrocities of the Holocaust, will provide much food for thought.
The aim of this project is to provide comprehensive, in-depth New Zealand curriculum-aligned lessons, activities, and resources for teachers on human rights and misinformation. The ultimate goal of the new organisation is to work towards creating a New Zealand where we no longer have to remind people that humanity matters.
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.
These initiatives received funding in 2021.