Categorized | Education

New Zealand delegation to visit Connections School


On Feb. 5, 2013, Connections Public Charter School will host a delegation of visitors from New Zealand’s High Tech Youth Network (HTYN).

HTYN will establish branches of its organization in Hawaii.

“This is a great opportunity for our community, especially young people motivated to start a productive career in a high tech field,” said John Thatcher, director of the school.

Heather McDaniel, chairwoman of Connections Governing Board added, “One of the reasons this group is visiting Connections is to see our Makery project. Students use sophisticated computer controlled fabrication systems to turn their ideas into real products. Our students use computer aided drawing and computer aided manufacturing software and hardware to fabricate products made out of wood, plastic, metal, bone and shell. Dr. Neil Scott at the University of Hawaii, Manoa developed the program. Dr. Scott is also from New Zealand. I know he is excited about sharing his work with his fellow Kiwis.”

The High Tech Youth Network provides a creative and safe after school learning environment where young people work with adult mentors to explore their ideas, develop new skills, and build confidence in themselves through the use of technology.

Five members of the Network are visiting Hawaii to begin working on the establishment of chapters across the state. Haami (Sam) Chapman is the chairman of the High Tech Youth Network. He is recognized as one of New Zealand’s foremost leaders of indigenous work and in 2010 received a national title of Community Leader of the year.

In 2012, Chapman received a citation from the Queen Elizabeth II for more than 40 years of emeritus work within the global not-for-profit community development sector.

Professor Graham Smith, Mike Usmar, Filemoni Timoteo and Kane Milne will also be visiting Connections.

Smith is currently the pro vice chancellor and CEO of New Zealand’s only fully accredited indigenous university. He is a renowned and prominent Maori educationalists who has been at the forefront of alternative Maori initiatives.

Usmar is the founder of the High Tech Youth Network, and serves as the CEO for the Network both within New Zealand and the United States. In 2012 Mr. Usmar was named as one of the 25 most influential CEO’s of New Zealand.

Timoteo is chairperson of the High Tech Youth Academy, and is developing pioneering work around providing international “High-Tech” credentials for young people. He is working with Microsoft, Adobe, national qualifications authorities and industry providers including a Nickelodeon studio.

Milne was recruited at the formation of the High Tech Youth Network as one of the countries most sought after technical gaming videographers. He has taken the principal role of leading the learning pedagogy at regional training centers.

On Nov. 21, 2011 Prime Minister John Key launched the first High Tech Youth Academy at Studio 274 in Otara, New Zealand. The concept originated from a successful pilot funded by Microsoft, New Zealand.

The High Tech Youth Network seeks to empower young people and communities to become more capable, creative, and confident life long learners by encouraging them to develop a positive identity and belief in their potential, through linking cultural knowledge and values with technology.

Connections hopes to become one of the first sites in Hawaii.

The school shares High Tech Youth Network’s belief that core cultural values can result in strong relationships of trust, sharing, friendship and guardianship. The High Tech Youth Network is committed to the development of a community of closely affiliated High Tech Youth Studios in underserved communities across the Pacific region.

For more information on the High Tech Youth Network, call Mike Usmar at 808-799-6377 or visit

For more information about Connections Public Charter School, call John Thatcher at 895-6856 or visit

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