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The Promise of Broadband in Far North, New Zealand

Editor's Note: On March 29, New Zealand held a national memorial for the victims of the March 15 mosque terror attacks. Connected Nation grieves with and supports the survivors and the families who have lost loved ones. In an incredible display of love, the memorial was marked by words of forgiveness

Far North 2 300x225 The Getting Connected New Zealand Outbound team

Far North, New Zealand (March 29, 2019) – It's a place that intersects between ancient forests and modern-day technology. Farmers and woodworkers in Far North, New Zealand are getting connected.

Chris Pedersen, Connected Nation's Vice President for Development and Planning, and Robyn Krock, Valley Vision's project leader for Food and Ag Economy, are taking part in a week-long exchange program dubbed "Getting Connected New Zealand Outbound."  The program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Office of Citizen Exchanges, was organized by World Learning.

Pedersen and Krock have been crisscrossing New Zealand all week to share best practices for closing the Digital Divide, improving farm connectivity, and leveraging public-private partnerships among other broadband and technology related topics.

Yesterday, they traveled to Far North where they met with avocado growers and Kauri woodworkers. The Kauri forests are among the most ancient in the world with some trees measuring at more than 45,000 years old. But, it's a much  more modern addition that's providing promise for families in the area.

"They are excited to have three new towers going up in the next three months," said Pedersen. "It's part-two of their Rural Broadband Initiative. Part one was connecting institutions like schools and government buildings.  Now, they're onto this next phase.  Part two is the covering what we call the "last mile." It's that final stretch of broadband and internet connectivity that reaches into the most rural communities."

Far North 3 E1553869076516 225x300 Pictured (left to right): Robyn Krock, Chris Pedersen, and Jillian Hermansky

The pair, joined by World Learning's program associate, Jillian Hermansky, met with indigenous groups including Māori Iwi leaders, tribes, and chiefs to the hear the tribes' point-of-view on food and agricultural economy and learn what challenges they face.

"The big discussion was essentially the promise of broadband," Pedersen said. "They're talking about how broadband is going to help these operations throughout the region. They're focused on improving tourism, educational opportunities for local student, even safety uses."

The team spent the first half of the week in Dagarville, Whangarei, and Wellington New Zealand.  Today,  they are in Waitangi where they're taking parting Getting Connected Workshop Forum.  The forum will include sessions on increasing broadband access, strengthening local food systems, digital inclusion, and group analysis and modeling.

Related Links:
March 28, 2019 - Northern New Zealand Provides a Time for Learning 
March 27, 2019 - Let’s Get Digital: Connected Nation Takes Part in Skill Conference
March 26, 2019 - Having the Digital Revolution for Breakfast
March 25, 2019 - Greetings from New Zealand
March 12, 2019 - Connected Nation Taking its Mission of Digital Inclusion International