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Digital identity inclusion initiatives serve indigenous populations of NZ and Australia

Digital identity inclusion initiatives serve indigenous populations of NZ and Australia

In New Zealand, funds from the Spark Foundation will be used to bring more Māori into the digital space, while Connect ID and Hold Access announce an initiative to accelerate the development of the WUNA digital wallet for Australian First Nations people.

Spark Foundation grant will support Māori in digital sector

A grant of a million New Zealand dollars (roughly US$621,000) grant from the Spark Foundation will allow Te Ao Matihiko, a Māori digital umbrella group, to facilitate the inclusion of the population into the digital sector, according to Waatea News.

Te Ao Matihiko combines advocacy group Te Matarau, also known as the Māori Tech Association, and Te Hapori Matihiko, the 650-strong Māori Digitech community. Only 4 percent of New Zealand workers in tech are Māori, the article notes.

“This is about weaving te ao Māori throughout the digital realm so we’re not waiting for anyone,” says Elle Archer, chair of Te Ao Matihiko, referring to the Māori worldview “We want to ensure we are doing this as we move through, and this includes all the big ticket items and the really important things like data sovereignty. This is part of our culture, this is part of our identity as we move in that online space.”

ConnectID and Hold Access to accelerate development of WUNA digital wallet

Australian Payments Plus initiative ConnectID has announced it is partnering with Hold Access to accelerate the development of the WUNA digital wallet, according to an announcement. The wallet will support the digital inclusion of First Nations people and help bridge the digital gap by improving identity verification.

WUNA is an aboriginal word that refers to the ability to make informed choices. By using WUNA, First Nations people will have more control over their digital IDs and will have an easier time accessing essential services such as healthcare, employment and banking. Businesses will also be able to more easily maintain compliance with regulations.

“Access to digital services is necessary in a nation like Australia, considering our significant remote and regional population,” says ConnectID managing director Andrew Black in the announcement. “For those living in these communities or those without the means to access digital documentation, identity verification can be a major barrier to these important and often critical services.”

Digital IDs can support other digitally excluded communities such as refugees and the homeless population by facilitating identity verification.

“When many people in some First Nations communities do not have an email or electronic documentation, the move to online services creates an incredible barrier and expands inequalities,” says Hold Access Founder Jason-Urranndulla Davis.

Still, he notes that when addressing the digital gap, “the continuity of cultural identity for First Nations people is extremely important. It shouldn’t be something that can be left at the doorstep, it should be able to travel with you.”

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