OMGTech! welcomes $40 million in new tech education funding

OMGTech! is excited about the newly announced investment package of around $40 million aimed at enhancing digital fluency among our young people.

Minister of Education Nikki Kaye has announced the funding, to be spread over three years, and OMGTech! Is looking forward to supporting teachers on their tech journey, says co-founder Zoe Timbrell.

“OMGTech! wants to help enable our tamariki to be creators with technologies not just consumers of technology,” says Zoe.

The new funding will mean compulsory Digital Technologies from Years 1 to 10 by 2020 and new NCEA credits developed for Years 11 to 13.

OMGTech! aims to help New Zealand’s first generation of digital natives become tech leaders of the future, not just as consumers of technology but as world class leaders in creating and deploying technologies we can’t even imagine yet.

Co-Founder of OMGTech! Vaughan Rowsell says, “New Zealand’s opportunity over the next ten years is to position itself as an innovation nation. The world is rapidly becoming a different place driven by technology and if we want to be seen as a world leader, then this starts with ensuring every child in New Zealand gets a world class digital technologies education”.

Vaughan, who is also the Founder of Vend, & Vice Chair of the New Zealand High Tech Trust, says parents and whānau should embrace this change to the curriculum.

“Some parents may be concerned about the change but we encourage them to think about the future of work.”

The World Economic Forum report predicts 65% of jobs our primary-aged kids will have as adults, do not exist today. It is absolutely essential that we deeply embed digital technologies at every level of education.

The technology sector is our third largest export sector and the creative technology sector is growing fast as well with the film, music and game design industries all flourishing. These industries are creating the jobs of the future.

Digital Inclusion is a real focus of OMGTech!. For this to be a successful change, we need to ensure all our kids have equity of access and our teachers have the right support to help deliver that.

“This will be more challenging in some communities but we have already seen some great work in some of our underserved communities including Manaiakalani, and OMGTech!’s pilot with the Otara Principals Cluster,” says Vaughan.

Zoe agrees, saying it is great to see businesses taking a lead in this space.

“We’re thrilled to have corporate New Zealand supporting digital inclusion in education and to see initiatives like Spark’s Jump programme, which hopes to deliver low-cost broadband to the 40,000 households in New Zealand that currently don’t have a connection.”

OMGTech! has also been working alongside practitioners to help create lessons that fit into existing classroom activities while delivering the knowledge and skills required for the new digital technologies curricula.

“We look forward to continuing this work with educators to ensure other important stuff doesn't need to drop out for technology to fit it in,” says Zoe.

For more information contact:


Zoe Timbrell

Co - Founder & General Manager OMGTech!



Vaughan Rowsell

Co-Founder OMGTech!; Founder Vend; Vice Chair New Zealand High Tech Trust




We give ALL Kiwi kids access to the technologies that will shape their futures! Making sure all our kids are creators of technology not consumers. We have hundreds of industry volunteers who work as role models and inspiration to these kids and our various workshops span the length and breadth of Aotearoa. We can be anywhere, just like technology.  



Today the educational charity initiative OMGTech! announces a new structure to allow it to continue to deliver and grow access to technology, with the goal of enabling all NZ kids to have access to future tech like robots, augmented reality and coding to help change their lives.

It also announces that with this change, one of the co-founders, Michelle Dickinson, will be stepping down to focus on her activities to popularise science communication, including her work with Nanogirl Labs.

Michelle has been part of OMGTech! from the beginning, when co-founder Vaughan Rowsell asked if she wanted to help out with a new initiative and she leapt at it with gusto, leading to something really special. Over the last 2 years we have worked with over 3000 kids and announced partnerships with Spark, Microsoft, Huawei and Accenture.

“It has been wonderful to work with Michelle on making this very special charity come to life, her passion and experience in making STEM exciting and accessible has been instrumental in getting OMGTech! to where is is now.” Vaughan Rowsell, Co-founder OMGTech!

OMGTech! will also be established as its own charitable trust. Until now it has been administered in a lean start-up fashion under the Pam Fergusson Charitable Trust, a family run charity founded by Vaughan Rowsell and run by his partner Zoe Timbrell.  The charity, in the name of Vaughan’s mother, is to pay forward what she did for him and his two brothers when they were young. Pam Fergusson, a paraplegic solo mother of three, took out a loan on the DPB and bought a computer in the early 80s when others thought she was crazy to go into debt to buy a strange toy. That computer led Vaughan and his brothers on to careers in technology, notably Vaughan founding retail software global leader, Vend.  

OMGTech!, after growing even faster than we had hoped, is now taking the next step to become a permanent part of the NZ technology and education fabric, and bringing on a new and wider governance board.

OMGTech! welcomes tech industry veteran Nathan Torkington as the first addition to the governance team.  OMGTech! has begun the search for other experienced directors to assist with our focus on education, ethical use of technology, making the connection between business and education as well as representation of Maori & Pacific Island education. Expressions of interest can be sent to

OMGTech! launches Youth Leadership programme for future Science and technology leaders


OMGTech! has partnered with the Ministry of Youth Development to launch it’s new OMGTech! Youth Leadership program.  Youth Minister Nikki Kaye today announced $25,000 of funding for the OMG Tech Youth Leadership Training Programme.

“This investment will help foster 20 young leaders from decile 1 and 2 schools to empower other young people in their communities to learn about and become familiar with using future technologies,” says Ms Kaye.

The Youth Leadership program will help New Zealand create a strong pipeline of future leaders in the technical space who will be seen as positive role models within their communities as well as be able to help define the technology of the future. 

Dr Michelle Dickinson, co-founder of OMGTech! announced the programme today at Freemans Bay school.  "Empowering the next generation of leaders is important for the science and technology future of New Zealand. I'm excited to help to create a new platform which not only builds confidence in young people but also enables them to take the knowledge and experiences they learn from our leadership program and take technology education back to their communities.

OMGTech!’s Youth Leadership program will focus on hands on interactive training and group process skills through a weekend course held in Auckland in addition to 12 months of being paired with a mentor who is currently working in the science and technology sector.  

OMGTech! will provide resources for the leaders to set up modern learning environments within their local communities, including at a library, Marae, school or community center through a curiosity led discovery learning platform.

Lack of gender and ethnic diversity in STEM fields is a global issue and research shows that more diverse technical teams produce more financially successful business outcomes as well as increases confidence for improved diversity in senior leadership roles.  The Government is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in state-of-the-art digital infrastructure in our schools, and recently outlined broader work underway to enhance students’ digital fluency.  

It’s important that young people, regardless of where they live or go to school, have hands-on access to these technologies that will shape their future.  The programme is about encouraging and enabling better engagement with science and technology within all communities in New Zealand.

For more information contact zoe at