'Indigenous knowledge will save the planet.' This is the theme of the winning team's entry in the inaugural INDIGI HACK, held in the lead up to Science Week.

14 August 2019

Six teams of Indigenous youth, from New Zealand, Western Australia and Sydney, competed to develop concepts for app-based technology to revitalise Indigenous languages, linking to the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

The inaugural winner was Kaea Hakaraia-Hosking, from Māoriland Charitable Trust's M.A.T.C.H. program in New Zealand, with The Protectors (Te Kaityiaki)—an interactive app which involves fighting off aliens to preserve language and save the planet.

The 15-year-old was surprised and excited about winning the top prize for the video game concept, designed to educate young children about Indigenous language and culture.

'It was awesome being able to connect with others for a really important cause and it also helped me step up as a leader and an individual,' Kaea said.

Her winning project will go into an incubator for further refinement.

'It gives me the opportunity to develop my project even further. I'm hoping to develop some type of a platform where my friends who competed in the INDIGI HACK with me from New Zealand can get the opportunity to develop their games and apps as well.'

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Winners holding $5000 cheque for the 2019 Indigi Hack young innovators awards
Image courtesy of INDIGI HACK


Fellow New Zealander Te Ākauroa Jacob-Jankagi was the Cultural Knowledge winner.

'E tino koa ana au i whiwhi au i te tohu toa mō te mātau ki te reo me ngā tikanga Māori i te mea he mea nui ēnei ki a au. Koinei ngā mea e Māori ai au,' Te Ākauroa said. This translates to, 'I'm happy I won the award for cultural knowledge because Māori language and culture are very important to me. They are what make me Māori'.

'I think my app idea was a good one and a lot of people have said they think it could definitely help revitalize the Māori language. So given that, I am quite keen to continue working on it and see it through to completion if that is at all possible.'


The second-placed team of Edwina Beaman, Jet Butson, Lummel Harris, Jaymarl Hogarth, Chloe Thomas and Kaycee Smith travelled all the way to Sydney from the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia.

The Leonora District High School entry was based on a cultural game where you score badges by learning languages and totems. The aim is to educate, promote respect for culture, language and the environment and encourage travel and experience.

It was an amazing opportunity for the students and showed others in their small town the possibilities that are out there. The students will build on the experience and continue networking with others they met during INDIGI HACK.

‘The INDIGIHack game we made was a physical and non-physical game where you collected badges and then you had a choices of quests,’ said Year 7 student Jet Butson. ‘We had two days to create the design, then pitch it to the panel.  It was fun, challenging and learned a lot.  We learned about Unit, which is a 3D game engine and more about culture.’  


The International Maarif School of Australia, from Auburn in New South Wales, took out third prize.


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Group photo of the Indigi Hack 2019 event.
Image courtesy of INDIGI HACK

All images courtesy of INDIGI HACK

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