The Bishop’s Action Foundation (BAF) started Keystone Taranaki in 2006 to respond to the capacity building needs of voluntary and community sector organisations. As this programme developed it became clear that IT was a significant, and specific, area of need with most organisations maintaining IT systems through ad hoc processes rather than strategic and long-term planning.
In 2008 BAF partnered with the iTaranaki Trust and secured funding from the Community Partnership Fund of the government’s Digital Strategy to run a pilot project, Making IT Work, to test out how to respond to this need. The pilot included connecting with successful models operating in the UK, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The pilot confirmed that the need was real and that organisations needed support to develop fit-for-purpose IT strategies and implement sustainable solutions. At this point BAF set out to find the right changemakers to embrace this opportunity and build a flourishing response.
In September 2008 Patrick Edwards agreed to lead what was to become known as the ICT Gateway. A year later Kiki Ruakere joined him and together they established the ICT Gateway as a relevant partner working alongside voluntary and community sector organisations to ensure their IT systems made it easier for them to achieve their outcomes.
Not long into the journey BAF began exploring a further partnership with Community Waikato who were running a similar venture called Reliance as a standalone business model. BAF worked alongside Community Waikato to support a deepening collaborative process and in 2011 formally partnered with Community Waikato to merge the ICT Gateway with Reliance creating a new single entity known as the Community Technology Gateway (CTG) covering Waikato and Taranaki.
CTG continued until 2013 when the merged company ran into financial difficulties and made the hard decision to wind-up. However, as the need remained BAF committed to resurrecting the ICT Gateway and Kiki Ruakere agreed to continue as its lead Coordinator. Funding support from TSB Community Trust (now TOI Foundation) enabled the ICT Gateway to offer greatly subsidised or free services to not-for-profit entities in Taranaki.
A decade later the ICT Gateway continues to flourish and has become a go-to ICT partner for Iwi, Maori organisations and not-for-profits across Taranaki. Due to the ICT Gateway values focus and strategic intent and Kiki’s whakapapa and connections the ICT Gateway has supported the endeavours of an increasing number of Maori organisations and groups. Kiki said, “BAF has supported the kaupapa of the ICT Gateway which has meant I can help Taranaki Iwi and Maori organisations get the ICT support they need to benefit whanau around the Maunga.”
The need for ICT support in the community sector continues to increase, with Covid 19 only making this more prevalent. Due to this growing demand BAF recruited Trudy Smith to work alongside Kiki in the ICT Gateway team.
BAF is now looking at the next evolution of the ICT Gateway, as a number of exciting opportunities present themselves.
A range of entities that have been supported through the ICT Gateway contributed their thoughts to the impact being achieved:
“ICT Gateway have provided Te Korimako o Taranaki the information and technology expertise require for over 10 years, which has helped build and support the station to where it is today. We look forward to continuing the relationship into the future.”
Tipene O’Brien, Te Korimako o Taranaki
“ICT Gateway and the ease that Kiki Ruakere works with the Taranaki Iwi team has ensured that our IT needs are responsive and efficient, he understands our space and works well with our team.”
Wharehoka Wano, Taranaki Iwi
“ICT Gateway have been a great help to the community groups in the installation and maintenance of their IT systems for the past 10 years and long may it continue.”
Brian Eriksen, Taranaki Disabilities Information Centre Trust
“We trust Kiki and ICT Gateway with our small non-profit organisation, they provide the best service to ensure our IT requirements are met so we can continue to support our community.”
Tanya Anaha, whyORA
“Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa has worked with Kiki Ruakere and the ICT Gateway for over 9 years during which he has provided fantastic ICT support. He is a valued and responsive member of our team who has worked alongside us to help our organisation as we have grown in size and complexity.”
Dion Tuuta, Te Atiawa
In 2022, after 13 years with the ICT Gateway, Kiki Ruakere was supported by BAF to transition across to Matike to grow an ICT service for Iwi and kaupapa Maori providers. Kiki acknowledged the support of BAF over that period for his own personal growth and for enabling many Maori organisations to access affordable ICT support and advice at a time when their resources were very limited. This view was echoed by Tipene O’Brien, Station Manager at Te Korimako o Taranaki 94.8FM Ki Uta & 98.4FM Ki Tai (Coast) “I would like to thank BAF for the 10 years of IT service offered to us during that time, without it I can honestly say we wouldn’t currently be where we are now.”
The ICT Gateway continues to offer ICT support to the not-for-profit sector through the leadership of Trudy Smith.