Whenua Kura study year begins

This year’s new intake of Whenua Kura students (seated in foreground) are photographed with kaumātua from Koukourārata (Port Levy) and manuhiri.

This year’s new intake of Whenua Kura students (seated in foreground) are photographed with kaumātua from Koukourārata (Port Levy) and manuhiri.

The new year of study is underway for 46 students studying as part of the Whenua Kura programme.

Most of the students are enrolled at Lincoln University, near Christchurch, and will do practical experience on Ngāi Tahu properties, including work and study on either dairy farms, sheep and beef properties or at the Koukourarata māra kai (organic garden).

The course has a Māori approach to learning, which includes support through to potential employment.

Whenua Kura is open to all Māori, with scholarships available for those aged 16-40. It is a learning partnership between Te Tapuae o Rehua, Ngāi Tahu Farming and Lincoln University, which seeks to grow Māori leadership in agriculture.

This week the students enjoyed a noho marae and pōwhiri at Koukourārata (Port Levy, Banks Peninsula) where they received their scholarship certificates and were able to listen to Ngāi Tahu kaumātua Tā Tipene O’Regan, Kaiwhakahaere for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Tā Mark Solomon and Vice Chancellor Lincoln University Professor Robin Pollard talk about their aspirations for the programme. The final speaker was Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu CEO Helen Leahy who gave an inspirational speech about Māori success and leadership.

Whenua Kura student Rawiri Pouaka (second from right) receives his study scholarship certificate from Kaiwhakahaere Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Tā Mark Solomon (left), Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu CEO Helen Leahy and Lincoln University Vice Chancellor Professor Robin Pollard.

Whenua Kura student Rawiri Pouaka (second from right) receives his study scholarship certificate from Kaiwhakahaere Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Tā Mark Solomon (left), Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu CEO Helen Leahy and Lincoln University Vice Chancellor Professor Robin Pollard.

It was also an opportunity to thank programme sponsors Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu and and Te Puni Kōkiri.

Whenua Kura Manager Renata Hakiwai says one of the key aims of the programme is to train up the best agriculture and horticulture managers possible, so that whānau can return to the land and can do so in a way that advances both the land and the people.

“We want our students to get jobs but equally to continue to study so that they eventually become farm managers and CEOs.”

The programme offers courses to Māori from all across Aotearoa. Participants can study agriculture (Dairying and Sheep & Beef), organic horticulture, farm management and environmental planning.