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Ara’s Department of Enterprise & Digital Innovation (EDI) transforming into the ‘Department of Business & Digital Technologies’

The Department of Enterprise & Digital Innovation (EDI) at Ara Institute of Canterbury is changing its name to the ‘Department of Business & Digital Technologies - Te Hoe Hōkai Pakihi’ to better reflect the Department’s products, activities and aims.

The department, which offers business and IT programmes, was formed two years ago via the combination of what were formerly stand-alone Business and Computing Departments. While this merger had many practical benefits, recent research into perceptions of the resulting name revealed that ‘EDI’ was not hitting the mark for industry or potential learners. 


Head of Department Nigel Young says the research gave his team a clear direction in which to proceed while seeking a more relevant and relatable name; one which better reflected what the department does and the key sectors that it works with. 

Says Nigel “The feedback prompted us to come up with a clearer name for the Department, to match more closely with the scope of the industries employing and working with our graduates and students, while also increasing awareness of our offerings and the way business and technology are increasingly coming together. We needed a name that people could recognise and that leads to an understanding that they can study across the region in business and digital technologies right up to degree-level.” 

The new name is also now a closer fit with the Department’s existing Māori title. Te Hoe Hōkai Pakihi, literally ‘the paddle of wide areas of business’ refers neatly to extending business through the use of technology and implies that the Department’s work and expertise is instrumental in powering a wide range of business endeavours forward.  

The Department is also currently working with the Office of the Kaiārahi with a view to better empowering Māori learners and staff within the department. “As we work towards integrating Ara’s ‘Framework for Maori Achievement’ into the Department, it’s very pleasing that our Māori name so perfectly expresses what we’re doing here. It matches our drive to extend business for the future needs, at a time when we’re closely examining what the Department offers, how it delivers and how it engages with partners and industry” says Nigel. 

Indeed the name change is following in the wake of recent innovations such as the launch of the social enterprise Tech Colab (a learner-powered technology service business unit for the local community), which is extending the scope of traditional education delivery and reinforcing Ara’s commitment to placing real-world learning at the heart of the learner journey. The Department is also committed to making the tech sector more accessible for rangatahi and continues to work closely with Christchurch NZ, as well as local community and employers, to drive forward a more work-based learning experience through an apprentice-like model of delivery. 

A number of Ara team members are now working behind the scenes to put the changes in place in time for May the 3rd, the start of the second term of the first semester for Ara.