30 Jul 2012

Northland marae promotes living off the land

6:50 am on 30 July 2012

A Northland marae is encouraging its Maori community to get back to their roots and live off the land as a way of coping with unemployment.

Pehiaweri marae in Whangarei and the tertiary education institute NorthTec have worked together for the past 18 months to develop education programmes that encourage students and their community to grow their own kai.

The courses also develop students' academic skills to prepare them to enter the work force.

NorthTec tutor Grant Steven and his Otiria-based class near Moerewa worked with Pehiaweri marae to build an outdoor wood-fired oven that was used to cook for more than 400 people during Matariki celebrations.

He says students who might otherwise be on the benefit are learning how to sustainably provide for their family.

Mr Steven says it's important communities learn to help each other out rather than wait and hope for new jobs to appear.