Sara Stratton

Founder, Māori Lab

Tēnā koutou, Ko Ngati Kahu, Ngā Puhi nga iwi. My profile does not read as 'usual' C.V.s of following a steady trajectory of a career path of growth and 'success.' I have just completed my Masters of Digital Futures where I looked at digital technology through a Māori lens, especially interested in the idea of ethics/values, whose values, and what a Māori perspective of values would bring. Tech Futures Lab have also just employed me to be the Treaty of Waitangi, Māori advisor to be a bridge between Māori and Pākeha(European New Zealander) cultures, mindsets, values. The potential and real harm of Algorthmic Bias and finding solutions was a journey I started many years ago. Having witnessed racism and the effects of dignity robbed by colonial views and values, in my family, and wider Aotearoa/New Zealand I took the opportunity to study law at the University of Auckland. Treaty of Waitangi, Māori Land law, and criminology were my areas of real interest. I was the co-president of the Māori Law Student's Association-Te Rakau Ture, and sat on the general Law Student association. My experience there led me to truly understand and articulate Institutional racism. I never practised the law as I believed you couldn't be paid by a system that you knew you wanted to change. I knew then a solution to mitigate racism, bias is to have all voices at all levels of decision making, especially the creation of anything, system, product, business. I am hoping this Council has been established because of that theory and my unique world-view is why I am on the Council. I worked instead as a researcher in television while I raised my 3 children. I threw myself into community work. I have participated in my children's school boards to bridge the Māori-Pākehā cultural divide, ensuring Treaty of Waitangi principles were understood and implemented. I have worked in a charity, Manaia Kalani Trust, helping kids in their last year of school, who were not going to university, look at other work options and skills. I've been a volunteer in other things like the NZ Drug and alcohol Court, feeding kids at low decile schools etc. I am right now putting together a group of people to create and develop a basic digital technology introduction programme for women in NZ prison Restoring Dignity, so people can be independent, be their authentic self is my passion, in whatever area of life that is. I love sport and fitness and what it can teach you mentally and emotionally, so I have participated in sport and fitness a lot. I love it. I coached the kids' sports teams over the years when they were young. I love dancing, and comedy and try not to take myself too seriously. If you can't laugh, life is not worth living.

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