Māori Respond to Trades Call to Action

If the He Toki ki te Rika Māori Trades Expo at CPIT on Friday 8 July was a call to action then Māori have responded with 113 people signing up for the new initiative.

BarryBaker-JamesPascoAddressing the large gathering at CPIT’s Trades Innovation Institute, Kaiwhakahaere (Chair) Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Mark Solomon said the future demographics of the country mean that all New Zealanders will benefit from increased Māori achievement and leadership in trades.

“By 2050 Māori, Pacific Islanders and Asian are likely to be the majority of the tax paying workforce of this nation,” he said. “The future of this nation rests on your shoulders, yours and your children.

“We can’t be just the labourers anymore, we’ve got to be the tradesmen, we’ve got to be the foremen, we’ve got to be the supervisor, we’ve got to be the engineer, we’ve got to the city planner – that’s our future, because we don’t have a choice. If we don’t pick up this mantle and go for it and try to upskill as a people we risk New Zealand becoming a third world nation.”

The Māori trades initiative, He Toki ki te Rika, was officially launched on 21 June with funding from Te Puni Kōkiri and in partnership with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Te Tapuae o Rehua, CPIT and the Built Environment Training Alliance (BETA) workgroup, with support from Ngāi Tahu Property. Launched to coincide with the increased need for skilled workers due to the rebuild of Christchurch, the initiative also aligns with CPIT’s strategies for Māori and Pasifika Achievement.

As well as 12 to 14 week foundation programmes in carpentry, painting & decorating, plasterboard, plumbing and drainlaying, the collaboration between the Trades Innovation Institute and Te Puna Wanaka (TPW), both at CPIT, will offer upskilling programmes to foster leadership opportunities.

The Expo presented information on industry pathways through opportunities within the Built Environment Training Alliance, BETA group of Industry Training Organisations and through the Centre of Assessment of Prior Learning at CPIT. Individual learning programmes incorporating pastoral care, industry networking opportunities and apprenticeships will define the new approach.

“I’m excited about the potential of the He Toki kaupapa to contribute so significantly to meeting the skilled trades of Canterbury,” CPIT Kaiarahi Hana O’Regan said. “I think we got it right, combining the novice trades training opportunities with the industry training options whilst pulling in a network of Māori tradespeople and businesses around them. This kaupapa has to work, and I believe we have the passion, the energy and the right partners to make it happen.”

Solomon said that in the last week he has had requests for 23 apprentices from different companies. “They’re hungry for you, they want you and they are going to train you. Take up the opportunity. On behalf of Ngāi Tahu I encourage you to step up to the plate, get on the waka and build the future of this nation.”

Graduates from the Māori trades training scheme of the 60s, 70s and 80s were at the event to offer their support. At a reception at CPIT wharekai after the event, they reminisced about the excellent training they received, how it changed their lives and their hopes for the new generation of trades students.