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BNZ supporting digital skills uplift through community partnerships

News > BNZ supporting digital skills uplift through community partnerships
BNZ supporting digital skills uplift through community partnerships

BNZ supporting digital skills uplift through community partnerships

BNZ's Digital Skills in Aotearoa 2022research shows that one in five adults still lacks the essential digital skills to safely use everyday online tools to participate in today’s digital economy.

BNZ Head of Digital Adoption, Victoria White, says that’s a huge number of New Zealanders who are missing out on the benefits of being online, such as online banking, booking appointments, ordering groceries, or staying in touch with loved ones, all of which we know leads to improved financial, productivity and wellness outcomes.

“We also know from our research, that the number of New Zealanders falling victim to scams is rising, and people who lack essential digital skills are more at risk,” says Victoria.


“More than ever, people need digital skills to fully participate in our economy and society. That's why BNZ has pledged $600,000 over three years to support face-to-face digital skills training for our customers and the community, as part of the Digital Boost Alliance. 


“BNZ is thrilled to be partnering with Arataki Systems, 360 Tautua Trust, and Digital Seniors who are focused on New Zealanders most in need and at risk of digital harm, specifically seniors, Māori and Pasifika. 


“These established organisations are already doing a fantastic job lifting digital skills and have built trust and strong connections within their respective communities. Our financial support means they will be able to continue to deliver and achieve great outcomes. 


“We’re also ensuring that our partnerships go beyond basic financial support, and that we draw on each other’s respective strengths to amplify our impact and drive meaningful change.  As a result, we are also striving to: 


  • Raise awareness of the digital inclusion issues facing New Zealanders and what needs to be done to address them. 
  • Promote the great mahi these organisations are doing, and how our communities can reach out and benefit from the services they provide. 
  • Build empathy and understanding, including myth busting and storytelling that showcases the positive impact learning digital skills has had on participants’ lives.   
  • Overcome fears associated with technology.
  • Share insights and learnings across our respective organisations.
  • Utilise existing BNZ learning material like Scam Savvy, and co-design additional learning content that covers key topics such as banking online, transacting online, contactless payments etc.
  • Leverage each other’s networks and connections and harness the wider NZ digital support network that is available.
  • Demonstrate what a successful partnership looks like and develop a partnership working model for other corporates to follow.


“Our aim is to share our learnings from these three partnerships and deliver a proven training model that other partners in the Digital Boost Alliance can easily adopt and scale for the benefit of all New Zealanders,” says Victoria.


Digital Learning Partnerships: 

Arataki Systems, based in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, is a Māori whānau (family) owned company that provides cultural technology advisory services and solutions. The founders of Arataki Systems have career backgrounds in Māori storytelling, technology and Iwi relations.


Arataki Systems CEO Lee Timutimu says “We're excited to partner with BNZ on what we know to be important mahi (work) in empowering and upskilling our Marae trustees and Marae around the motu (country). Working with BNZ will be a great fit because they can share their expertise and insights in relation to online banking and online safety, both of which are topics we cover off in our Marae Matihiko digital marae literacy programme.” 


“For Marae communities, digital inclusion allows them to maintain communications with their uri (descendants), while at the same time enabling uri to maintain a connection back to their Marae and turangawaewae (place of origin). Cultural identity can be maintained through a connection to one’s whenua (land), turangawaewae and Marae - this can be vitally important to the cultural and mental wellbeing of our people.”


“For our Marae communities there is some uncertainty about what the future looks like in terms of access to affordable connectivity, computing equipment and digital literacy programmes. It is my hope that the DBA can help bridge the digital divide from a place of genuine community engagement, so that we can better support our communities around the country.”

Contact: Lee Timutimu, CEO Arataki Systems; [email protected] 


Digital Seniors, based in the Wairarapa, is a community charity of volunteers focused on empowering seniors’ wellbeing and prosperity by providing free coaching so seniors are comfortable using digital technologies and services in today’s increasingly digitised world. 


Digital Senior’s CEO Cathy Hardinge, says “Seniors make up a quarter of our population with the lowest rates of digital engagement in New Zealand. The biggest barriers seniors face are fear and lack of skills and support, and the accessibility of devices and connectivity. While there are tech savvy seniors, many are being left behind in our society’s tech transformation and without the right learning and support, seniors are very vulnerable to scams.  Seniors are the demographic most likely to be the victims of scams each year and to help prevent further harm we need to ensure that they are equipped to recognise scams and properly educated in how to stay safe online. 


We want to reframe what it means to grow old in NZ and address the myths surrounding ageing. We see so many people who are capable and motivated to learn, who thrive with the right levels of support. That level of support can be as easy as just demonstrating understanding and empathy, breaking things down into simple steps, using the right language, seeking to build confidence and overcoming fears.


We would also like to see more organisations removing accessibility barriers by developing solutions that are inclusive and accessible to those who may be experiencing issues such as hearing, sight, cognitive or physical difficulties. 


We’re challenging ourselves to reach more people in need and are now embarking on a national expansion journey, starting with a pilot with Auckland Council. BNZ’s support has come at a critical growth point but we are always looking for more partners to help accelerate our growth and build a network of support and connection points for seniors in their local communities.  We’re seeking more volunteers on the ground to provide individualised face-to-face support and would like to make a call out to any organisations who may be able to provide devices or funding for devices for our seniors. We find that tablets are often the device of choice for seniors who benefit from a larger screen than a phone, while maintaining the advantages of a simple touch screen device. 


Contact: Niki Jones: [email protected]

360 Tautua, based in Auckland, is a charitable trust which provides a wraparound service to elders and families of the Pacific community. Digi-Matua Polokalame is a key part of their offering, providing a comprehensive digital skills learning programme for Pasifika adults who have little or no education or qualifications.  


360 Tautua Trust Founder and Director Romana Fetu says “The reality is that our Pacific communities are being left behind as they face challenges of access, connectivity and education in this digital world we now live in. There is a huge digital divide amongst different generations of our Pacific community and our role is to help all generations and the most vulnerable of our Pacific Matua to uplift their knowledge, understanding and ability to navigate in the digital world, to the benefit of the whole hauora.


We are proud to say that 2022 saw approximately 1,000 successfully graduate from our Digi-Matua learning programmes. However, we need ongoing funding and support to continue and build on our Digi-Matua programme and deliver on our aspirational vision for 360 Tautua Trust to spread and work with Pacific Matua in Auckland, Wellington and the South Island.  There is opportunity to create spaces for our Pacific Matua (55+) to connect and become change agents in their local areas by attending Pacific-centred Digital Inclusion workshops based within familiar surroundings such as their churches or community groups and delivered in their own language by Digi-champs.  Additional support to fund these programmes for our Pacific Matua across the motu would bridge the digital divide, improve their wellbeing and enable them to live a prosperous life.


Contact: Romana Fetu, CEO 360 Tautua Trust;[email protected]


BNZ and 360 Tautua Trust Scam Savvy event Sept 2022


BNZ and Digital Seniors Scam Savvy event Sept 2022


Lee Timutimu (Arataki Systems), Larna Findlay (Community Relations Manager) and Victoria White (BNZ Head of Digital Adoption)

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