24 Jun 2021

Te reo Māori construction training programme aims to build connections

6:17 pm on 24 June 2021

A new building and construction programme will deliver courses in te reo Māori for the first time.

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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The pilot initiative was launched today in Kirikiriroa and aims to connect with Māori students interested in the industry.

It is being led by the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) along with Ngā Taiātea Wharekura and iwi Waikato Tainui.

BCITO Māori and Pasifika advisor Garyth Arago-Kemp said the initiative sought to make a pathway for rangatahi learning in te reo and to form a partnership with wharekura.

"So the purpose behind it was to I suppose strengthen our connection with kura kaupapa Māori schools, wharekura," Arago-Kemp said.

"Also to make the pathway for our rangatahi learners, to make a connection with them when they go into a trades or vocational arena based around te reo Māori."

The te reo Māori programme would be available through the BCAT level three resources and NCEA secondary school units.

Ngā Taiātea Wharekura situated in Hamilton will be the first secondary school to carry out the programme.

Principal Michelle Treadaway-Ohia said the initiative made the career pathway more accessible to rangatahi and the resources showed students that te reo Māori was valued.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to help engage Māori students and encourage Māori students to consider careers in the building and construction industry," Treadaway-Ohia said.

"It shows our tamariki Māori that there is a lot of mana and worth in our reo."

She said for the past 12 years, Ngā Taiātea Wharekura and BCITO had been in a partnership, where BCITO was helping students in vocational and trades training programs off-site.

According to statistics provided by BCITO at apprenticeship level, Māori make up 19 percent of all BCITO enrolments and have a 69 percent credit completion rate. In comparison, non-Māori apprentices have an 82 percent completion rate.

BCITO said they hoped the use of te reo would break down learning barriers to improve the statistics.

They were seeking to increase the number of Māori students undertaking courses in building and construction as well as making tangible improvements at a tertiary level.

For the programme, students will continue to carry out practical work offsight and complete the written te reo resources within the classroom.

Treadaway-Ohia said she hoped the resources would be rolled out nationwide across numerous kura and expand to include level one and two standards as well as apprenticeships.

"The hope is that all tamariki Māori and wharekura will access these standards as well, that would be wonderful."

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