Giving back to the community

A group of He Toki civil skills students left their classroom recently to rebuild a deck and repave the pathways at the Spreydon Methodist Church.

Reverend Fitifiti Lautua, Centre for Māori and Pasifika Achievement  Mentor, Ara Institute of Canterbury, says these sorts of projects are a great way to give back to the community.

“This project is a way of supporting the community that continues to champion our kaupapa,” says Rev. Fitifiti.

“Not only does this project build our community networks it also offers the students good on-the-job experience,” he says.

A dozen He Toki students took part in the work and Ara Civil Skills tutor Karl Noonan says projects of this nature give He Toki students opportunities that aren’t readily available to other learners.

“These sort of projects give real world experiences to the students and they line up with the outcomes we are trying to achieve,” says Karl.

The development of the  He Toki programme was inspired by the legacy of Māori trade training schemes of the 1960s through to the 1980s, and that legacy was apparent during the church work programme – one  of the builders helping the students to rebuild the deck was Mate Ngaro Sadlier (Ngāti Porou), who was a member of the 1965 Māori Trades Training intake.

Mate says the skills he learnt during his training shaped his life and career in the trades. He also noted similarities between He Toki and the Māori Trades Training initiative he went through.

“This programme provides similar support to what we used to get, except we had to do everything by hand,” says Mate.

One of the He Toki students, Diane Ranga (Ngāpuhi) says He Toki has been very rewarding.

“The programme is awesome and we get to learn so much through real life experiences,” says Diane.

“I did He Toki because I wanted to learn new skills to help me develop a career and with the help of the tutors, I am learning the skills I need to succeed,” she says.

He Toki ki te Rika is a trades training programme for young Māori that brings together the strengths, knowledge, expertise, capability and networks of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Te Tapuae o Rehua, Hawkins Group and Ara Institute of Canterbury.

Kym Hamilton, Programme Manager, He Toki, says He Toki is designed to create life changing opportunities for Māori.

If you would like more information on He Toki, or information on the July intake for the Certificate in Civil Engineering, call 0800 HE TOKI (438 – 654).