Māori trades training receives $1m boost from government

News News & events

14 Dec 2012

Representatives from He Toki ki te Rika, the Christchurch based Māori trades training programme, were in Wellington yesterday signing and receiving the $1m funding agreement that government announced earlier in the year.

He Toki is led by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu in partnership with Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) and Hawkins Construction. This unique collaborative model leverages the existing knowledge, experience and expertise of partner organisations to up skill Māori for the recovery of Canterbury.

Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon thanked government for its support.

“Ngāi Tahu is taking an active role in readying local Māori for the recovery of Canterbury and government must be commended for their commitment to helping to develop the Māori workforce.”

He Toki was launched last June and more than 150 Māori have completed the course, 89 of those students have found work and most of the remaining students have gone into further training.

“We are proud of this programme and the success it has created so far, with more resources and support from the government the results should continue to improve,” says Solomon.

The investment from the government includes the support of Māori social services providers to help with pastoral care. It also includes 300 apprenticeship grants and the provisions to employ two new dedicated staff members.

The two new He Toki roles include an apprenticeship coordinator and a skills broker.

“This investment extends our ability to help Māori become trades leaders, which will have long-term benefits for the Canterbury region,” says Solomon.

Signatories from He Toki

Signatories of the He Toki funding agreement. From left to right; Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere, Mark Solomon, Te Tapuae o Rehua Chief Executive, Dr Catherine Savage, CPIT Chief Executive, Kay Giles, McConnell Group Chief Executive, David McConnell, He Oranga Pounamu Acting Chief Executive, Robyn Wallace, Te Puni Kōkiri Chief Executive, Michelle Hippolite, Tertiary Education Commission Deputy Chief Executive, Dr Colin Webb and Ministry of Social Development and Work and Income Canterbury Region Commissioner, John Henderson.


Chief executive of CPIT, Kay Giles says He Toki is one of the ways CPIT has responded to the need for additional trades training in Christchurch.

“At CPIT we strive for Māori and Pasifika achievement. By working with Ngāi Tahu and Hawkins we have developed a very comprehensive and effective programme to train and transition Māori into jobs. With the extra resource and support of social service providers we will continue to do this better and continue to support the recovery of Canterbury.”

Over the last year Hawkins Construction has played a key role in connecting He Toki students to the recovery of Canterbury. As well as organising work experience for He Toki trades students, Hawkins has helped to develop the He Toki passport.

The He Toki passport is a unique purpose designed document for every student that shows potential employers how ready, keen and able these students are.

Hawkins worked with the trades industry to define what employers are looking for and turned this into a checklist of skills that the students complete. This includes skills such safety training with Site Safe, preparing a CV, professional behaviour and effective communication at work.

Hawkins Construction South Island Manager, Steve Taw says it is extremely satisfying to be part of a programme which provides direct benefit to the local community and iwi and welcomes the funding from the government.

“The benefit of this approach is that we all work together to widen the potential labour pool for the local construction industry, which can only be good for the regional rebuild.”