More Māori needed in Agriculture

Chris and Adriana

If you thought getting into farming was difficult, think again.

Whenua Kura is an iwi-led partnership between Ngāi Tahu, Te Tapuae o Rehua, Ngāi Tahu Farming and Lincoln University that seeks to grow Māori leadership in agriculture. It is open to all Māori and applications are now open for certificate and diploma courses (from Level 3 to Level 6), starting in February 2016.

Whenua Kura Programme Manager Renata Hakiwai says one of the Ngāi Tahu aspirations is to establish Māori as leaders in agribusiness and he is excited about the potential for Māori to grow within the land-based sector.

“Ngāi Tahu Farming expects 300 students to graduate to employment in the farming sector over the next five to eight years and Whenua Kura hopes to expand in 2016 adding courses dedicated to research.

“For us it’s about diversifying options for students. They may start in agriculture but we see lots of potential for them to move into other primary industry sectors too, such as forestry, horticulture, environmental science, agri-technology, research and apiary studies,” he says.

Whenua Kura launched its first programme in 2014 with an emphasis on practical on-farm training combined with university study at Lincoln, offering a Certificate in Farming (Dairy).

Eleven graduates from that inaugural course are currently in employment – seven on the Ngāi Tahu farms and four working in the industry in Te Ika a Māui. A second intake in Dairy began their Level 3 studies in June.

A Level 5 Diploma in Agriculture course has been added to the Whenua Kura suite with nine of the enrolled diploma students working on the farms during the holidays. One of the students is now employed on the farms. The Level 4 industry cohort is another new offering, with 12 Ngāi Tahu Farming employees currently engaged in study.

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Applications are now open for five programmes beginning in February 2016 – the Whenua Kura Certificate in Agriculture (Level 3); the Whenua Kura Certificate in Farming (Dairy) (Level 3); Whenua Kura Diploma in Agriculture (Level 5); and the Diploma in Farm Management (Level 6). Whenua Kura have also added a Certificate in Organic Horticulture (Level 3), in partnership with Te Wānanga Taiao ō Koukourārata, to their suite of programmes.

Tuition fees are paid for and students are also offered a cadetship on the Ngāi Tahu farms. For some students, there may also be assistance with accommodation costs. Those who gain their diploma can progress through to degree level.

Renata Hakiwai says the programmes are open to all Māori and the curriculum is based on Ngāi Tahu values and knowledge of land use and management. He says there are some further unique aspects to the programme which could allow students to participate in food growing activities alongside establishing enterprises, such as Te Wānanga Taiao ō Koukourārata, a market garden venture on Banks Peninsula. This project is being supported by the Lincoln-based Bio-protection Research Centre and specialist organic education provider, the Biological Husbandry Unit. The rūnanga is working with the university to discover suitable crops that could be turned into regional business opportunities and provide jobs to bring whānau back home.

“We need more Māori in agriculture and this is a brilliant opportunity for young Māori to get back in touch with the whenua, to grow their knowledge and skills base and to force a worthwhile career for themselves and their whānau.

“New Zealand is a world leader in agriculture and Māori can play an important part in maintaining the high regard our country is held in internationally,” he says.

Details of the 2016 courses are listed below:

Certificate in Farming (Dairy) (Level 3) – Starts February 2016
• Full tuition fees scholarship for 18-34 year olds
• Arranged accommodation on the Ngāi Tahu farms
• A Māori learning environment
• A curriculum based on Ngāi Tahu values – kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga, and rangatiratanga – and application of mātauranga Māori (knowledge) to land use and management
• A Māori mentor
• Progression into higher level of study/training at Lincoln University and career acceleration

Certificate in Agriculture (Sheep and Beef) (Level 3) – Starts February 2016
• Full tuition fees scholarship for 18-34 year olds
• Subsidised accommodation at Lincoln’s Telford Campus in Balclutha, South Otago
• A Māori culture component
• Progression into higher level of study/training at Lincoln University and career acceleration

Certificate in Organics (Horticulture) (Level 3) – Starts February 2016 (TBC)
• Full tuition fees
• Based at Lincoln University and Koukourarata
• A tikanga learning environment
• A curriculum based on Ngāi Tahu values – kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga, and rangatiratanga – and application of mātauranga Māori (knowledge) to land use and management
• Progression into higher level of study/training at Lincoln University and career acceleration

Diploma in Agriculture (Level 5) – Starts February 2016
• Full tuition fees scholarship
• A curriculum based on Ngāi Tahu values – kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga, and rangatiratanga – and application of mātauranga Māori (knowledge) to land use and management
• A Māori mentor
• Progression into higher level of study/training at Lincoln University and carer acceleration
• A cadetship on the Ngāi Tahu farms

Diploma in Farm Management (Level 6) – Starts February 2016
• Full tuition fees scholarship
• A curriculum based on Ngāi Tahu values – kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga, and rangatiratanga – and application of mātauranga Māori (knowledge) to land use and management
• Progression into higher level of study/training at Lincoln University and career acceleration
• A cadetship on the Ngāi Tahu farms

All four groups of students will attend four noho marae as part of the cultural component of the programme.

For further information on the Whenua Kura programme call 0800 KAITAHU or check out the website at www.whenuakura.co.nz