Tongan father Tu’uta ki Tu’atonga had never touched a laptop before until this weekend, when he attended the Kanorau Digital training in Hamilton.

Tu’uta was invited to attend by the Tongan Men’s Group from the Siasi Uesiliana Tau’ataina ‘o Tonga (SUTT) church in Te Rapa, Hamilton. He and other members of the men’s group attended the day course that teaches basic but important technology skills. They were joined by a few women who were representing their husbands. The programme is run by the Manaiakalani Education Trust and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa with support from Pasifika Futures.

Tu’uta and the group were taught by a tutor in their Tongan language, so it made it easier for them to understand and participate in the workshop.

Tu’uta says learning these valuable life skills is important for him to connect with his family in New Zealand and in Tonga.

“For this workshop, I feel happy to be included because it’s the first time I’ve touched a laptop and learned how to use it. It’s important to me because I see my children use it for school, and my friends and family use laptops too.”

Fellow participant, Siosifa Havea, says that upskilling his ability to navigate emails will help him communicate better and help him to navigate important information online.

“This course has really helped me to learn more about computers. I knew a little bit about emails but I’ve gained more knowledge today. It’s important to know these things because nowadays it’s the way to receive key information, for example from the government and from family. “

The programme was initiated by Manaiakalani Education Trust after a report by the Department of Internal Affairs found certain groups, mainly Pacific and Māori, were more likely to be digitally excluded and resulted in a feeling of isolation.

Kanorau (meaning many seeds) Digital is a free six-hour course completed in either one or two days, that teaches people how to identify the different parts on a laptop, how to care for a laptop, knowing how to be safe online, creating a gmail account, sending emails and understanding ways to report/block spam.

Pasifika Futures have been offering the training to its partners from Auckland, Hamilton, and Christchurch, and have started the courses for their matua and other interested Pacific groups.

Sione Vala | Kaiarahi Kanorau Digital

Digital coach, Sione Vala, says the training helped this group of Tongan men to learn in a safe and comfortable environment.

“Men are usually shy and won’t ask for help. Getting them in a group environment, they feed off each other and they are there to get the help that they need.

Being in a safe space will allow them to ask questions that they would be too shy to ask before.

Some of the easy stuff that we take for granted, these guys are finding it the best thing ever. That’s why it’s important, especially for myself being a Tongan. I can help my own people in our own language.”


One in five New Zealanders lacks the skills to safely use the internet for online banking and grocery shopping or don’t know how to download apps on a mobile phone, a report shows.

The report* commissioned by the Department of Internal Affairs showed people in low socio-economic and rural communities, the disabled, migrants and refugees with English as a second language, Māori and Pasifika, seniors and prison offenders are more likely to be digitally excluded.

This means they don’t have affordable, convenient and reliable access to an internet connection or digital devices including smart phones and can’t confidently use them in their day-to-day life.

The report showed that digitally excluded people reported less overall wellbeing, including feelings of isolation. They were also less likely to be involved in civic duties like voting or making submissions to local government.

As part of the Government’s Digital Inclusion Blueprint – which aims to see all New Zealanders have what they need to participate in, contribute to and benefit from the digital world - Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in partnership with Manaiakalani Education Trust and the Department of Internal Affairs, is offering Kanorau Digital.

Kanorau (“a hundred/many seeds”) Digital is a free short course that shows people how to get online safely and how to navigate websites and use apps on mobile phones with more confidence.

Kanorau Digital shows students how to use Gmail to send emails, manage files, online calendars and how to share documents online or join a group video call.

Students also learn how to use the internet to solve problems and how to stay safe and keep your important information secure when banking, shopping or doing other online business.

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa innovation and development group lead Aisha Ross, says the confident use of technology to access the internet or to use mobile phones is an essential today.

“The (COVID-19) lockdown last year showed how dependent we are on the internet as one of our primary means for communication, accessing information and services and engaging with the outside world,” says Mr Ross.

“So when someone doesn’t have access to a smart phone or the internet and they don’t know how to navigate either they’re at a severe disadvantage and can’t participate in or contribute to an increasingly digital world.”

“Kanorau Digital is about planting the seeds to help people gain confidence to use digital devices and the internet as a tool to connect with our diverse world,” says Mr Ross.

Please contact Kanorau Digital at or call 0800 526 672

To view the course schedule for Kanorau Digital, simply click here.

*Digital inclusion and wellbeing in New Zealand

Kanorau Digital is please to be supported by MSD around the country and looks forward to serving their clients to attain digital skills for everyday life.

Our team are delivering at some Connected sites and MSD clients can attend course at our campuses around the country.