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EIT’s New Poutāhu – Executive Director Māori Has Vision For The Future

Prioritising tauira Māori and ensuring that Māori students are supported to reach their full potential, is a key focus for Patrick Hape, EIT’s new Poutāhu – Executive Director Māori.

Patrick (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Te Rangikoianake) started his role this month, replacing Tuhakia Keepa, who has taken up opportunities within the health sector. Patrick has been a senior consultant with Kāhui Tautoko Consulting Ltd since 2016. Based in Wellington, his recent focus has been as part of the Hauora Māori team in the Health Transition Unit that is focussed on establishing the Māori Health Authority.

He says he views his new job as being a supportive role.

“There's more to cultural competence and capability than purely understanding te reo and tikanga Māori. It's about really understanding what works and what doesn't for Māori.”

“I see myself sitting in that middle ground to support Māori, and to support the organisation. Karakia and waiata are not the only tools to better support Māori. We need to make sure that we have the ability to be able to address the issues in an appropriate manner. If it’s to teach karakia and waiata, then let’s do that. If it’s something else, then let’s figure that out”.

For Patrick, who originates from Te Hauke, 30km south of Hastings, the plan has always been to return home, to be with whānau and to support his local hapū and iwi.

“I’ve moved back to my late grandmother’s house so I’m back amongst it all. My parents are here, as is my sister and niece and nephews - everybody’s here. It’s exciting”.

EIT’s Chief Executive Chris Collins says the institute is very fortunate to appoint a person of Patrick’s calibre to this critical role.

“Patrick is well versed in Māori settings and environments that have grounded his approach to working with all people and across different iwi and hapū groupings. He is a te reo and tikanga Māori champion and promotes the appropriate use of both within different work settings and environments.”

“His international experience, combined with his resolute commitment among Māori communities is what he brings to support the mission of Te Aho a Māui and the journey ahead that we have together, as we transition fully into Te Pūkenga.”

As part of the Government’s Reform of Vocational Education, it is bringing together EIT and 15 other Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics, and up to nine Industry Training Organisations, to form Te Pūkenga.

Patrick’s experience has included working on health initiatives that support indigenous communities in New Zealand, Canada, and the United States (primarily in Hawai`i). He was also based in the Māori Land Court and Waitangi Tribunal, supported projects from the Ministry of Education, and was recently contracted to Te Arawhiti – The Office for Māori Crown Relations.

Patrick says he is excited to work for an institution that prioritises local iwi and local hapū and he sees himself as a “support pillar” for both EIT and for Māori. He recognises the efforts of his predecessors and says that he’s been provided with a great platform. He sees an environment ripe with potential and opportunities to do more.

“The organisation now appears to be in a position where it's hungry to do more. There is a lot of opportunity within an environment that is changing with the imminent reforms. I'm excited about the opportunities that the reform brings.”

In particular, Patrick is looking forward to the prospect of not only building a stronger relationship with local iwi, but also using Te Pūkenga as an opportunity to bring more resourcing to the region.

“From an iwi perspective, I really want to make sure that they're looked after, that they’re brought in, and that the reforms are used to bring more opportunities to the iwi, from here to Tairāwhiti and beyond”.

“Things like the Māori research area are also making good ground in terms of the work with iwi and hapū to empower them. It's being able to marry the two worlds together, the Māori world with the support and resources that are available at EIT.

A pōwhiri was held at Te Ara o Tāwhaki Marae, EIT Hawke’s Bay Campus to welcome Patrick and his whanau.

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