People living in the four Auckland Local Board areas that make up The Southern Initiative (TSI) are among the most digitally disconnected in New Zealand. According to the 2013 Census 38% of the 74,904 households in TSI do not have an internet connection in their homes. This compares with a national (and Auckland-wide) average of 15%. Since NetHui 2014, held in Auckland in July 2014, a small group of people have been meeting to develop some strategies for addressing this digital exclusion challenge in South Auckland. The most recent meetup was at TSI headquarters in Manukau on 2 December. The group proposed the following vision statement: “to enable people in South Auckland to use digital technology as a tool to improve their overall well being“, or put more simply “Get South Auckland Online, Learning and Connected“.
The meetup agreed a high level definition of digital inclusion:
(a) people with access to affordable digital technologies when and where they need them; and
(b) people with the skills and confidence to use digital technologies at work and to enhance their lives.
A start was made on mapping known initiatives, classifying each by attribute – access, skills and use, as well as context – education, work and life. Organisations already involved in digital inclusion initiatives were identified as well as as other stakeholders who could potentially contribute to levelling the playing field and digitally aligning the TSI community with other Auckland communities.
The South Auckland Digital Inclusion group will meet again in the New Year.