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NZ Maori Council launches new program, “Eke Runga”

NZ Maori Council launches new program, “Eke Runga”, to lift Maori from poverty

“If we are truly to solve the challenge of poverty within the Te Ao Maori world we must lift our people from the low wage and low skills growth side of the economy. At the same time we must continue to ensure our people, no matter where they are, not only are able to save for retirement, they enter their latter years financially secure. This means Government, business and industry opening the doors and not being afraid to take a punt.” Matthew Tukaki, Executive Director of the New Zealand Maori Council

“We all know the statistics, Maori are mainly part of the lower wage and lower skills side of the economy. Speak to any of our people and the vast majority live from payday to payday and are often trapped in the cycle of deepening debt and poverty. If we are truly going to change the dynamic we need to ensure we are bold and brave and start the mahi now.” Tukaki said

“The first thing we intend to do is now work on a national mentoring program and intern program. To do that Maori Council is going to want to build partnerships with some of biggest homegrown companies and multi-nationals. I want to see business and industry building more creative pathways to a career in the higher skills side of the economy and sometimes that means programs that look past the qualifications and into the passion of the person. I can tell you as someone who has run the worlds largest employment companies thatg often your best results are achieved by taking on a passionate person and training them up.” Tukaki said

“This new national program will also reach out into our regions and seek to ensure that our kids and young people are not excluded because of distance and location – the program will be called Eke Runga, to aspire to lofty heights, and no matter where our kids are we want to support them to reach their full potential.” Tukaki said

“To help with the roll-out of the program we will also be establishing a national network of mentors to provide work place support for both the employer and the employee – to navigate through the cultural differences, to iron out the kinks as people begin their employment journey and more.” Tukaki said

“In addition to this we will focus work on those of our people in their middle years. Of working to transition our people into a second career where they may have to exit what they have been doing – it could be through redundancy – it could be because of health. The example I often use is where our people who work in the trades sector. The reality is that when you hit fifty the joints give it and you just can’t lay those bricks or plumb that drain – so instead of languishing on the benefit and entering into retirement in poverty lets work with you to embark on a second career.” Tukaki said

“Eke Runga is about aspiration to reach lofty heights for all of our people. Over the next few weeks the details of to the market strategy will be finalised and I can tell you that we will be launching the new online platform at the end of November and this will be shortly followed by the Council supporting each of its sixteen Districts to begin the building of hubs across the country. Whether they be digital futures, more skills and therefore higher wages in the community and social services sector we have one aim in mind – to use employment to lift our people from debt and low wages and into home ownership and into retirement with peace of mind and putea in the bank.” Tukaki said

ends

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