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Maori and Pasifika Trades Training Students at Weltec

Hon Tariana Turia
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment

17 March 2014

Orientation for Maori and Pasifika Trades Training Students at Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec)
Waiwhetu Marae, Lower Hutt

Rau rangatira ma, nga mata waka, nga karangaranga maha, tena koutou.

Talofa lava, malo e lelei, kia orana, bula vinaka, fakaalofa lahi atu, namaste, malo ni, halo ola keta, mauri, fakatalofa atu.

Ki a koutou hoki te mana whenua o tenei rohe, Te Ati Awa, tena koutou, tena koutou,tena koutou.

I want to thank Kura Moeahu and Waiwhetu Marae for the warmth of your welcome. It is always good to return to this marae, a marae which lives up to its name, Aroha ki te tangata.

Thank you also to Reverend Nove Vailaau for opening our hui.

I had great pleasure in being invited by Te Runanganui o Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika a Maui and in particular the distinguished Dr Kara Puketapu to join with you today.

I also acknowledge the invitation from Dr Linda Sissons and WelTec to share with you all this important milestone – the student orientation for the recipients of Maori and Pasifika Trades Training Scholarships.

I am so proud to stand alongside of my colleague the Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and to congratulate the Maori and Pasifika trades training students that we have all come today to honour.

It is absolutely stunning to know at last count there were 91 Maori and Pasifika students signed up with WelTec - and an ultimate target of 116. Whitireia has more than thirty students enrolled. The target for the entire Wellington region is 236 – equating to 200 fulltime equivalents.

So why are those numbers so important?

Those numbers are not just about the individual students that we see in front of us –as impressive as they are.

No-what these numbers represent is the start of a revolution.

A revolution of change and challenge for over two hundred families who are as much part of the success of this initiative as the students. If we estimate that in your immediate family, each of our students could probably expect to have immediate contact with at least ten family members – then straight away we have two thousand people to be champions of the Passport to Work.

And that’s just the start!

It is a revolution of thinking which is located in collaboration and co-operation; a model where we come together to work for the collective good.

This project is a perfect model of partnership – industry, tertiary providers, iwi, Pasifika churches.

So I come back to the origins of this marae – the foundation that was laid by our forefathers–Ihaia Puketapu, and former Prime Minister Sir Walter Nash.

They wanted this marae – Aroha Ki Te Tangata - to represent the good relationship that existed between tangata whenua and tangata tiriti – those who come to live in this land by virtue of the Treaty of Waitangi.

It is much the same message today – it is about growing a friendship; building a relationship based on shared goals. The initiative has given spring to enormous opportunities for the different stakeholders.

For industry this is about meeting your medium term skill needs but it’s also wrapped up in that notion of reciprocity. The partnership that has developed in this project is about holding hands with our rangatahi; investing in them to enable them to flourish through work, through training; just through the life-learning of this course.

In joining with your partners, you are helping to influence what trainees study and helping to prepare them for employment. We must work harder at supplying the skills the industry needs and improving outcomes for graduates – having a long term vision in sight.

This scheme is also a great opportunity to develop, grow and strengthen partnerships with iwi, hapu, Maori entities, Pasifika communities. Essentially it’s about all of us stepping up to the challenge; lifting our game – because our rangatahi count. It’s time to connect – and to better utilise the resource and aspirations throughout the communities.

I do want to make special mention of the special expertise you have already developed through Pasifika Trades and the Tamaiti Whangai Academy. Both these initiatives have been successful in helping young people to develop the skills and the attitude that are needed now and into the future.

And so I want to return to where this whole initiative began – and that is with our bright young future – Maori and Pasifika peoples aged between 18 and 34 years of age.

Today you are making a big step forward towards your future. Traditional thinking is based on ‘what is.’ I want you to also grasp the challenging of thinking about ‘what can be.’

All the philosophers and fortune-tellers will tell us that the future you see is the future you get.

Through this initiative you will be equipped with a qualification, a Passport to Work and the tools to do your job. The rest is up to you.

I really encourage you to create a future that represents the visions, the dreams and aspirations you hold now.

You are in charge of the journey from here on in – a journey which along the way will improve the lives of you and your whanau in ways that only you can imagine.

Thank you for allowing me to be part of this very exciting day and for witnessing the power, the passion and the potential of all of our Maori and Pasifika Trades trainees.

Tena tatou katoa.

ENDS

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