Tech pair launch PC access programme

Two Manukau Institute of Technology students have launched Computers In Homes, a programme inspired by author Alan Duff's Books In Homes scheme, which they run from a garage in West Auckland.

Two Manukau Institute of Technology students have launched Computers In Homes, a programme inspired by author Alan Duff’s Books In Homes scheme, which they run from a garage in West Auckland.

The programme — which has no links to the Computers In Homes project run by the Ministry of Education and the 2020 Trust — was started by the pair, John Tuakana and Solomon Morgan, last year.

The pair, who run a web design and IT business, JS-NewMedia, established Computers In Homes after winning a tender to be the IT provider for several South Auckland schools in a project funded by Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Maori Development.

After receiving interest from families with children at the schools in getting PCs at home, Tuakana and Morgan decided to start the scheme, under which those who wanted home PCs could get them at favourable finance rates in a deal brokered with a supplier, whom they declined to name.

The Computers In Homes deal allows repayments of $20 per week over three years and the package includes PC, software, peripherals and training. “It’s been designed to be attractive to lower socio-economic people,” Tuakana says.

He and Morgan believe IT has the potential to provide great benefits, particularly to Maori. “As Maori, we have a deep passion to help people, especially other Maori, to empower themselves into the future.”

They don’t see themselves as being in competition with the Education Ministry-2020 Trust’s programme. “We don’t see education as a competition,” Tuakana says.

2020 Communications Trust chair Ian Thompson was unaware that Tuakana and Morgan have started a programme with the same name and similar aims to the trust’s Computers In Homes, but says Computers In Homes isn’t a registered trademark or brand and that he is not opposed to Tuakana and Morgan’s project. All work in that field was valuable, he says.

Duff’s Books in Homes scheme was started in 1992 to provide books for children in bookless homes. It is funded by sponsorship and government grants. The MIT pair are seeking sponsorship to help expand Computers In Homes.

JS-NewMedia was previously known as JS-Webz deZign. The firm has built websites for several organisations and developed its own bilingual Maori-English educational software.

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