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Māori trades students receive scholarships at Rehua Marae

Media Release


Māori trades students receive scholarships at the old home of Māori trade training

During the 1950s through to the 1980s, thousands of Māori boys and girls from all over New Zealand moved to Christchurch to learn a trade. For most of those students, Rehua Marae was their new home.

Tonight at Rehua, thirty years later, more than 60 new Māori trades students will be awarded full scholarships to start on their trades pathway – on the He Toki ki te Rika programme.

He Toki is the Māori trades training course led by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu in partnership with Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) and Hawkins Construction. It was launched in 2011 to up skill Māori for roles in the recovery of Canterbury.

On behalf of the partnership, Tā Mark Solomon will award the scholarships to the students.

Solomon says he is proud of the commitment Māori are making to be a part of the recovery.

“It is fantastic to see Māori stepping up and getting ready to be part of the rebuild.”

Solomon says enrolling in He Toki is the first part of their journey of becoming the next generation of Māori trades leaders.

“We want these students to go on to become the supervisors, the project managers, the foreman. It’s about leadership.”

He Toki was launched last June and more than 150 Māori have completed the course, 89 of those students have found work with most of the remainder are going into further training.

A $1m boost from government late last year helped to create the scholarships students are being awarded.

The scholarships include full fee support, support from a Māori support team, help with work placement and a $1,000 apprenticeship grant.

The He Toki programmes include carpentry, painting and decorating, welding, plumbing, drain laying, plasterboard and engineering. He Toki students study at CPIT’s Trades and Innovation Institute at Sullivan Ave in a cultural environment, involving tikanga and use of te reo.

Māori trades mentors and a support team work together to help students to achieve their full potential and to go on to become Māori trades leaders.

He Toki students also complete a work readiness passport alongside their studies, which helps them prepare for a work environment. The passport is a work readiness programme developed with the support of key industry partner, Hawkins Construction.

Hawkins called on their industry knowledge to define what employers look for and turned this into a checklist of skills that students complete. These skills include gaining site safe certificates, preparing a CV and working towards a driver's licence. The work readiness passport gives He Toki students an edge when seeking work following graduation.

Hawkins Project Director Mark Katterns will be speaking to the students at the evening ceremony. Katterns began his construction career as part of the Auckland-based Māori Trades Training Scheme then joined Hawkins as an apprentice in 1980, he is fully supportive of the He Toki programme and the opportunities that it offers.

“Earning a scholarship for He Toki is a privilege. I urge every student to grab this opportunity and strive to be the best they can be in their chosen trade, stay committed, work harder than the next person and ask questions. I started my trade training as a shy Māori boy from the Bay of Islands and learnt that staying shy was not going to get me anywhere. Today I am a good communicator, an excellent planner and a great leader. Aotearoa needs great Māori construction leaders and He Toki is the start point.”


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