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TaiTech running vaccine passport and Covid app courses

Older New Zealanders are more likely to be left behind when it comes to keeping up with the Covid-19 apps and passports but TaiTech is working to keep kaumatua up to date.

Because smartphones are becoming more important in everyday life because of Covid-19, the trustees at TaiTech (Tairāwhiti Technology Trust) decided it was time to run specialist classes covering the NZ Covid Tracer app and how to download the My Vaccine Pass.

The organisation runs computer and smartphone beginner courses that cater to older students who have little or no tech experience.

While most of the population use and are connected to the internet, a recent report by government agency Digital showed over 35 percent of people 75 years and older have no internet access.

TaiTech trustee Polly Crawford said many kaumatua did not have basic skills when it came to using computers and smartphones.

Some of her students at TaiTech signed in (on Covid Tracer) at class with paper and pen, even though they had smartphones.

“I know from our classes a lot of our students haven't had the Covid app so we've been putting that on (phones) for them,” said Polly.

Another problem was many kaumatua did not have email addresses. To address this, TaiTech was also running foundation courses before moving on to the more complex apps.

Anyone was welcome to do the courses, which are free.

“If you need to do anything like this, just come in. There are no appointments, you can just come in and have a cup of tea and a kōrero,” Polly said.

The courses are funded by Te Puni Kōkiri-Ministry of Māori Development.

Te Puni Kōkiri regional adviser Tiahn Hooper said they were happy to fund a programme that was run for the community by the community.

“It was an easy project to get behind and support,” she said.

It was about ensuring everyone in society had the tools to keep themselves safe and protected.

“Kaumatua are expected to scan into sites. They're expected to be high-tech and load on these vaccine passports. For me, that took about five seconds but for other people in my office it took about three days.

“It's about bridging those gaps and making sure there's a level of equity.”

It was important to let kaumatua go about their day without having to stress about technology.

“Now, more than ever, people needed to support kaumatua with their devices.

“It's about helping to form intergenerational relationships and learning about being considerate to all. “

The had been looking to fund community-led initiatives, “stuff that's happening on the ground and making a difference for whānau”, she said.

“It's a whānau-centred approach. You can ring the phone number but you're not going to get that face-to-face help. It's local. They know the faces and it's a comfortable environment.

“TaiTech has an established relationship with kaumatua in the community so I think they're the perfect sort of organisation to share this with their networks and abilities.”

Anyone wanting to join a class can drop by TaiTech in the Kaiti Hub between 9.30am to 4.30pm on Monday and Tuesday.

The December 2 class covers using the Covid-19 app on a smartphone. December 3 covers how to use email. December 6 and 7 shows participants how to download and use the vaccine pass.

■ For inquiries about the courses, contact Polly Crawford on 021-258-2474 or call into TaiTech at the Kaiti Hub.

SUPERCHARGING KAUMATUA: Te Puni Kōkiri regional adviser Tiahn Hooper (left) and TaiTech trustee Polly Crawford say the NZ Covid Tracer and My Vaccine Pass courses being run by TaiTech will help keep kaumatua up to date with technological changes. Picture by Paul Rickard