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Building careers in land for people of the land

Media Release
21 August 2013
- for immediate release

Building careers in land for people of the land

Lincoln University has launched a new initiative designed to encourage Māori secondary school leavers in the Canterbury and West Coast regions to consider training for careers in land-based industries, and also provides support services should they wish to do so.

Known as Poutama Whenua (‘Pathways into Land’), the new initiative includes a range of programmes provided by Lincoln University specifically targeting Māori students. These educational pathways include vocational certificates and diplomas, all the way to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Māori land and primary sector assets are key economic resources for whānau, hapu, iwi and Māori communities, but also come with social, cultural and environmental challenges when looking to balance Māori collective aspirations for economic advancement next to kaitiakitanga (guardianship).
With this in mind, and with the growing portfolio of Māori assets coupled with an increasing number of Māori businesses operating in a range of land-based commercial endeavours (such as dairy farming or eco-tourism), a diverse well-trained workforce is required. The aim of the Poutama Whenua programme is to make a significant contribution to providing this workforce.

The Poutama Whenua initiative also includes programmes aimed at environmental management, with Māori increasingly called upon to provide expertise on issues of sustainability and resource management.

“We want to create study pathways and options for future Māori leaders in the primary sector by aligning their acquisition of skills with the exciting developments happening within Māoridom. The Poutama Whenua approach supports Lincoln University’s broader Whenua strategy; with its emphasis on positive transformation for Maori land, Maori communities and, ultimately, the Maori economy,” says Assistant Vice Chancellor, Communities, Professor Hirini Matunga.

“Upskilling young Māori to contribute to growing a diverse, thriving and sustainable primary sector has the potential to transform these individuals; including whānau and hapu that comprise these communities.”

By way of promotion, the next few months will see Mokowhiti Consultancy taking Poutama Whenua out to some 26 schools with a high Māori student population. The organisation has prior experience in such endeavours having been involved in a national campaign to increase the uptake of Māori into health based careers.

Ends

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