by Gareth Hughes
Hawaiki is the legendary homeland of Māori and a powerful, mythical place resonant in Māori culture.
E ngā mate, haere ki Hawaiki,
Ki Hawaiki nui, ki Hawaiki roa, ki Hawaiki pāmamao.
To the dead, depart to Hawaiki,
To great Hawaiki, to long Hawaiki, to distant Hawaiki.
Hawaiki as a term has different associations with different Pacific nations and now is also a plan to digitally connect the Pacific. Hawaiki Submarine Cable have a $350 million plan to deliver a second trans-Pacific cable between New Zealand and the United States linking in Pacific states. This week they announced Northland would be the cable’s landing point which is fantastic news. It’s good news for Northland’s economy, offering new opportunities to tech businesses and increases in New Zealand’s resiliency if anything ever happened to the Southern Cross cable’s landing points in Auckland.
New Zealand desperately needs a second cable. As the Green’s discussion paper on this issue pointed out: New Zealand is reliant on a single fibre optic cable system connecting us to the rest of the world. This vulnerability is an issue for the entire New Zealand economy, not just the ICT sector. Reliance on a single provider for our Internet means higher prices, data caps, and less innovation for services. In time, international capacity will also become an issue. And a single cable system means that our link has less resilience. With the Pacific Fibre cable falling over, it looked like we would be reliant on a trans-Tasman only new cable. The National Government hasn’t shown much leadership in this crucial area and I urge Communications Minister Amy Adams to pick up the phone with Hawaiki and ask what it can do to support.