24 Oct 2014

Urban Maori attracted to work on whenua

7:22 pm on 24 October 2014

A Massey University senior lecturer says most rangatahi Maori wanting to take up agricultural courses are from the cities.

Nick Roskruge, who specialises in Maori agribusiness, talked about the anecdotal finding at the Future Farms Conference in Wellington recently.

For example, he says the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, which runs courses for secondary school students in Wairarapa and Taranaki, is seeing more and more young urban Māori inspired to work on the whenua.

Mr Roskruge of Te Atiawa, Ngati Tama and Ngati Porou descent, says most rangatahi entering those programmes are actually from urban backgrounds.

He is not certain why that is, but suspects that they have an interest within themselves to get into land-based mahi, which shows that the farming courses don't just attract people from rural backgrounds.

Mr Roskruge says most of the urban rangatahi have had no experience whatsoever driving a tractor or using farming equipment and have to learn from scratch.

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