Skip to content

Bridging the digital divide for Pacific elders

Bridging the digital divide for Pacific elders

  • 12 Jun 2023
IMG 0505

(Picture caption: The 360 Tautua Trust aims to respond to the growing needs and supporting matua and their carers including within the digital literacy space.)

Tautua ma le alofa - to serve with love is at the heart of everything 360 Tautua Trust does.

The Trust aims to respond to the growing needs and supporting matua (elderly) and their carers including within the digital literacy space.

Recently, the Trust joined five other providers in an initiative driven by the Office for Seniors and supported by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) to introduce more older people to online digital training.

Alongside fellow providers Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa, 2020 Communications Trust, Moana Connect, Takiri Mai Te Ata Trust, and Age Concern Auckland, 360 Tautua has begun delivering essential digital skills courses for up to 5,000 learners around the country. 

Chief Executive Officer and founder of 360 Tautua Trust Romana Fetu says it became apparent that upskilling older people in online digital training was necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We worked closely alongside our tina and tama matutua (elders) and catered to their needs during the pandemic – during which we built strong partnerships and relationships with our seniors across the motu,” Romana says. 

“These relationships were honest and people did not shy away from telling us exactly what their needs were…it was evident the digital gap among our Pacific seniors was huge due to not having access, connectivity and training.” 

In light of this information, 360 Tautua has been encouraging seniors to take part in its Matua Go Digital, a programme which provides an opportunity for elders and fanau to engage and gain the necessary skills to navigate their way through the digital space. 

“Through participation and inclusion this enabled participants to confidently use devices and the internet to stay in touch with the community and aiga,” Romana adds. 

She says being able to teach Pacific communities to use technology to connect with each other and attend online services contributes to improved Pacific health and wellbeing.   

“We (360 Tautua) wanted to be part of the solution and to help bridge the digital gap among Pacific elderly, and together with the support of MPP and Office for Seniors we can help bridge the gap and ensure our elders are not left behind but are equipped with the skills and tools to be able to navigate this digital world we now live in. 

“The benefits of upskilling older people digitally includes being able to interact and access government online and medical services, communicate with family and friends online, participate in faith-based online services, stay safe online and avoid scams and use digital tools to keep an agile mind through personal interest and entertainment – to name a few.”

Last year’s Budget 2022 allocated $1.341 million over three years for the Office for Seniors to expand its award-winning digital literacy training for seniors programme. 

The funding is particularly targeted to deliver digital skills training in a way that works for diverse groups of older people, including older Māori, Pacific and East Asian people. 

To help address barriers to accessing devices, the Office for Seniors has partnered with MPP to deliver up to 450 computers in support of digital training for older Pacific people. 

This expanded three-year programme includes funding for robust evaluation of the training.

Māori and Pacific people aged 55 and over can access the free training due to challenges faced such as experiencing significant health issues sooner than others. 

Other seniors can access the free training aged 65 and over. 

Visit the Office for Seniors’ website and follow the 360 Tautua Trust Facebook page for more information.