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From New Town To New Skills And New Job Through Mayors Taskforce For Jobs

In less than six months of moving to Horowhenua, a young man found training and employment through Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ), and is now enjoying work satisfaction and skill development.

Maea Mataiti moved to Foxton from Christchurch with his whānau in late 2023 after finishing high school. Knowing that getting a first job can be difficult, the then 17 year old was eager to take advantage of the opportunities his new home could present.

He saw an advertisement for a short course that the Horowhenua Mayors Taskforce for Jobs programme was running - Great Coffee and Safe Food. Being a keen foodie but not knowing anything about making coffee, Maeasigned up. “I thought I'd trial it and I ended up loving it,” he says. “I wasn’t sure what to expect as this is the first time I’ve done a training course, but I’m so glad I signed up. I feel so proud of myself for doing it and really enjoyed the atmosphere. MTFJ has helped me come a long way.”

With his new found passion for hospitality, MTFJ were able to put him in touch with the Foxton Windmill Trust, who have a strong belief in employing local and supporting youth. With the help of a wage subsidy, they were able to offer Maea a full time position. He has been trained to work in the café and serve customers, and has taken on duties as the Mill Assistant, learning to mill flour alongside Head Miller Jamie Henry. In a ‘full-circle’ situation, The Foxton Windmill Trust had employed Jamie as a school leaver through MTFJ back in 2021. He was initially employed as a cook and part time miller, but when the full time miller left, Jamie stepped up into the role. It is heart-warming to see one MTFJ client mentoring another in such a unique role.

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Mayors Taskforce for Jobs is a Community Employment initiative funded by the Ministry of Social Development, and partnered with Local Government NZ. The Programme places NEETS (young people not in education, employment, or training), people living with disabilities and other disadvantaged people into work. The partnership reinforces that councils, led by their mayors, are well placed and connected to their communities to facilitate local employment outcomes. Each council has a localised programme, which is unique to their own challenges and key industries.

Mayor Bernie Wanden says, “We are proud of Maea and are excited about his new career pathway. MTFJ shows that communities, led by their Mayors, can play a crucial role in fostering employment opportunities for youth, and Maea’s story is just one example of the initiative’s success. In Horowhenua, more than a hundred young people have found jobs through MTFJ since its inception in 2021, and we have had incredibly positive feedback.”

In Maea’s words; “I recommend MTFJ to any rangatahi out there in need. I love the support I have received and appreciate the mahi the MTFJ team have put in to help me get a job. More than that, they have connected me with great people, helped build my confidence and really help me settle into my new community. I’ve got some great friends and awesome opportunities here.”

Although the programme focuses on young people aged between 16 and 24, the programme aims to help anyone with barriers to employment.

If you know of a young person needing support on their job seeking journey, please get in touch with Jo and Fraser at

Maea Mataiti. Photo:Supplied

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