He Toki students leave their mark on the rebuild

He Toki students standing over the whāriki they paved

He Toki students standing over the whāriki they paved

A group of He Toki civil skills students used the Ngā Whāriki Manaaki (Woven Mats of Welcome) series to leave a lasting impression on the city.

The 13 whāriki (weaving patterns) that form Ngā Whāriki Manaaki are a core element of the Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct redevelopment. The whāriki welcome visitors to our city.

The He Toki students were invited to pave one of the whāriki located in the Park of Remembrance by Ōtākaro Limited (formerly CERA).

They placed 3557 ceramic pieces across five days to finish the job and the result has been great says Martin Trusttum from Ōtākaro Limited.

“They’ve done a fantastic job and it seemed like they really enjoyed it. We hope to do more work with He Toki in the future,” says Martin.

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.

He Toki student Katie Johnston (Ngāti Porou) says paving one of the whāriki offered a real chance to contribute to the development of the city.

“It was great seeing the community reaction and I am going to make all my whānau go and see my work,” she says.

Katie says He Toki has been a great tool for her learning.

“I love all the people and love how they can communicate with people individually to get the best out of them. It is such a great programme,” she says.

Fellow He Toki student Dean Nepia (Tainui) student says it was “cool” to work on this project.

“It is pretty cool to be able to leave your mark,” says Dean.

“The whole He Toki programme has been great and is one of the best things I’ve ever done,” he says.

The whāriki are designed by Ngāi Tahu weaving artists Reihana Parata and Morehu Flutey-Henare with technical support from artist Wayne Youle.

This particular whāriki at the Park of Remembrance represents whakapapa, intergenerational learning and different pathways in life.

Karl Noonan, Civil Skills tutor at Ara Institute of Canterbury, says these projects are a great tool for students to gain real work experience.

‘It’s a good opportunity for the students. They get a realistic experience of how it would be on a job,” says Karl.

Kym Hamilton, Programme Manager, He Toki, says the programme is about ensuring Māori have tools for life.

“He Toki is committed to ensuring Māori are supported through education and employment. We do this by helping whānau to get into trades training and apprentices which will in turn set them up for life,” says Kym.