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More Maori graduates to benefit businesses

University of Canterbury to produce more Maori graduates to benefit businesses

May 23, 2014

The University of Canterbury is producing graduate students who will be of significant benefit to Maori organisations and businesses in the future and a special new course soon will up the ante.

The university is providing new ways to assist graduates for real world situations, whether that is working for iwi corporates, or for local or national government agencies, or in private business.

The graduates will be able to apply new skills and knowledge to many working relationships where employers are committed to productive work for, with, or by Māori organisations and businesses.

``This is particularly relevant within the Canterbury context. Ngāi Tahu are a significant driver of, and influence on the Christchurch rebuild and many businesses will appreciate the need for staff who have these skills,’’ Associate Professor Te Maire Tau, director of the university Ngai Tahu Research Centre says.

``A new course starting in July will focus on indigenous economic development within the South Island. This will be of significant benefit down the track to Ngai Tahu which contributes more than $200 million annually to the South Island economy, through job creation, purchasing and putting profits back into the community.

``One of Ngāi Tahu’s strategic goals is to build mutually beneficial relationships with government and private and community sectors.

``The history of Ngāi Tahu provides a fascinating backdrop for students. In the 1970s it was a small impoverished tribal community that had been reduced to a membership of less than 400. Within two decades the tribe had emerged as one of the largest corporations in the South Island with a tribal membership of over 50, 000.

``Today the commercial asset base is now in excess of $809 million. Ngāi Tahu is the largest private land owner in the South Island with significant interests in fisheries and tourism.

Students will have direct contact to key people who participated in the claim settlement process, as well as seeing how change can benefit all communities, not just Māori. Many non-Māori domestic students will find this course of great interest as it offers a unique perspective on indigenous economic development, as well as skills valuable in many careers,’’ Associate Professor Tau says.

Students will learn how historical characteristics of what an iwi is, how it functions and the intellectual history of its evolution into a tribal corporation.

They will establish an understanding of international political and economic trends and how these trends have underpinned tribal development.

More than 900 Māori students are studying at the University of Canterbury and the long term strategy of the Ngāi Tahu Research Centre is to develop student bicultural competency and confidence.

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