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Ngāi Tahu responds to vocational education legislation

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu urges the Crown to ensure that the Establishment Board of the newly formed Institute of Skills and Technology meets its Treaty obligations and addresses the statutory role of iwi as Treaty partners in redesigning the education system for the future.

Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai says Ngāi Tahu must be engaged as Treaty partner in building new programmes that meet Ngāi Tahu aspirations for a world where all rangatahi are inspired by their future, confident in their culture, prosperous in their careers and succeeding as Māori.

“Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu sees the recent Review of Vocational Education and the subsequent establishment of the Institute of Skills and Technology as perfect timing to address the statutory role that iwi need to have in the education sector,” she says.

“As an iwi we have significant expertise to offer in the redesign of our vocational education system and we can ensure whānau and tauira insights and needs are properly accounted for. Ngāi Tahu is in a position to inform and contribute to the design of new, bold and innovative approaches in vocational education that will deliver equitable outcomes for Māori and benefit all of New Zealand.”

Ms Tumahai says there has been a tradition of policy makers and agencies shutting iwi out of the decision-making process, which has created a “monocultural” policy lens.

“This has resulted in Māori being channelled towards low-skill, low-pay menial jobs that do not ultimately lead to improved whānau wellbeing. Bringing iwi in as Treaty partners is the only way to turn this around and build programmes that prepare us all for the future.”

Dr Eruera Tarena, Executive Director of Tokona Te Raki – Māori Futures Collective, has been looking closely at the present situation and what kind of future we will need to plan for.

“Currently, almost half of the Māori workforce can be found in job categories that are likely to be the most affected by automation and future technologies. With our faster growing population, rangatahi Māori are destined to be the backbone of the future of Aotearoa.”

“It is in everyone’s best interest that we work together to build an institute that addresses the imbalances in our education system. It needs to be re-wired to create an integrated, innovative and tauira-centered vocational training system that inspires, grows and prepares Māori for the opportunities of the future. If we achieve this outcome, we can all share the benefits of living a good life with whānau determining their own destinies,” says Dr Tarena.

“Ngāi Tahu believe that we must take a key role in the design and build process of our vocational sector to ensure we avoid making the same mistakes. This is our role as Treaty partner.”


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