Technology | Mahi Hangarau

Learn more about what's happening under the hood of the Āhau app.

How does the technology behind Āhau work?

Āhau is a distributed application, which means that the data that you put into your device is stored on your device and your whānau network. Āhau (the company) does not have any servers or databases that keep a record of any information that has been put into your private fully encrypted archives.

ALl Personal Data is encrypted

Other than your preferred name and profile picture, all information entered in Āhau is fully encrypted to your own device or to your own whānau group. When creating a record you can decide who will have access to it.

CONNECT offline or online

Āhau's network travels through people not through cables (peer-to-peer/digital kānohi-ki-te-kānohi). This means you can share information online, with connected Pātaka, and offline, when on the same local network.

FOSS - Free open source software

We believe that all indigenous communities should have the ability to collect, preserve and transfer their culture, and to participate in the development of these technologies to meet their own aspirations.


Your data on your device

Āhau's application infrastructure is very different to other common applications. The most prominent features of this is the use of SSB distributed database protocols and data encryption. This means that the Āhau app doesn't send your data back to some big company database for collection, storage and (mis)use. Instead data is stored on your database held on your device, and can be put online into a whānau database (Pātaka) and encrypted with special group keys. This means that you decide where you want your data to be held and who will have access to it.


Backup your data to your Pātaka

A Pātaka (or Pātaka taonga) is essentially your own cloud server, which is just another computer that is running a database connected to the internet so that you and your people can sync with the system and each other when they are online.

To make this setup easy we have built a separate application called ‘Pātaka’. Any person can build a Pātaka and connect it to the internet using port-forwarding, to provide a secure cloud for whānau to sync their information.

The Pātaka receives encrypted copies of data and gives whānau members who have been given a whānau encryption key the ability to sync-up (send and receive any new information) with the whānau archive via the internet.


How does syncing between Āhau and the Pātaka work?

When someone starts using Āhau they either create their own Pātaka to host data online or they can ask their whānau kaitiaki for a Pātaka invite code. Once they have entered the Pātaka code into Āhau they will be connected to the Pātaka and will be able to sync any new information.

When a new record is created by a whānau member in a whānau archive, that information is then sent to the Pātaka for storage. Other whānau members that are connected online will then ask the Pātaka for any new information and receive a copy of that record.

In this setup all information remains within your own whākapapa network, without any data being collected or stored by unwanted third parties.

Want to try Āhau?

Get in touch with us to trial the app with your whānau today.