Posts Tagged “Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology”
A group of Maori tradesmen who got their start together under an old government-run Maori trades training scheme have banded together to help give another generation of Maori a hand up.
About 15 Christchurch men have started Te Kaihanga Co-operative, a company equally owned by each of the tradesmen. The co-operative has been given EQR accreditation to take on rebuild work. Many of the tradesmen are already accredited.
Co-operative member Andy Ruruku, of Ru-Build, was 17 when he moved to Christchurch from Taumarunui in 1964 to learn carpentry as part of the Maori Trades Scheme.
Most of the young men came from the North Island as teenagers and learned how to look after themselves as well as their trades while living together in the hostels.
In the 1960s and 1970s Maori were a rare sight in the Garden City. However, they became immersed in the city and found themselves becoming Cantabrians, marrying and settling down.
“It was the best thing that ever happened in our lifetime, it’s just a pity it didn’t carry on,” Ruruku said.
The government scheme was stopped in the early 1990s, but a new version has been developed by Ngai Tahu and the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.
The co-operative hopes to take on graduates from that programme, as well as a similar course from Taumarunui, where many of the men still have strong roots.
The plan is to get more Maori running their own businesses and eventually joining the co-operative.
Having a trade was a great asset, 65-year-old Ruruku said. A former boss had encouraged him to finish his apprenticeship when he began eyeing higher-paid labouring jobs.
He told Ruruku that if he stuck it out he would start making much better money, and he was right.
That’s why it was important to get more young Maori to learn trades, and working for older Maori would mean they could be mentored and given life skills as well, Ruruku said.
Barry Baker, 60, is chairman of the co-operative’s board. He was also from Taumarunui and went through Te Kaihanga hostel a few years after Ruruku.
They chose to name the co-operative Te Kaihanga because it meant “to create”, and most of the tradesmen had stayed at that hostel.
The co-operative would allow the members to get better prices on materials and larger projects by being part of a larger network, he said.
Christchurch governance consultant Carmelle Riley was contracted by the Maori Development Ministry to help the tradesmen create the co-operative and has stayed on as a director.
“The philosophy is a really nice one and it’s really nice to be a part of,” she said.
Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere (chairman) Mark Solomon said young iwi members were already training to be part of the city rebuild with more to start training in February.
Those in the tribe experienced in the construction sector were being asked to work towards formal qualifications if they did not have them.
Hawkins Construction chief executive Chris Hunter said if seismic activity continued to ease, the residential housing rebuild should start in earnest in February, and at least 100 extra workers would be needed to add to the existing 220-strong Hawkins team in the damaged city.
Hawkins was also bidding for commercial work in the rebuild and would have to add extra workers, adding to the benefits of the partnership.
“We both saw the opportunity to help each other, and we had similar beliefs and aims and cultures to bring up young people to grow in our business and give them career opportunities.
“We also saw the opportunity that there would be a need for quite a number of additional tradespeople and professionals to rebuild Christchurch.”
Hawkins has been partnering with State Insurance and IAG on earthquake repair work valued at more than $100,000.
Since completing a rebuild for the Hororata-based Smith family in August, the company had completed many similar rebuild projects but felt frustrated that the main rebuild was still to begin.
About 80 Hawkins staff had been sidelined out of construction into assessment or other work, Hunter said. But from February, they should get back to the main construction task.
“The fall-off of earthquake aftershocks is coming into some range; the seismic geologists feel that it’s tracking the right way.
“The insurers are starting to get more confident,” Hunter said.
Hawkins and Ngai Tahu’s partnership will be partly based on an existing trade training initiative.
The He Toki ki te Rika initiative was announced by Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples at Christchurch’s Rehua Marae in late June to help ensure Maori share in training and job opportunities arising from the Canterbury recovery and in the wider work force.
The Maori Development Ministry granted nearly $300,000 in funding for the umbrella He Toki ki te Rika group to steer the trade programme.
Solomon said the initiative also took a partnership approach with the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, and the Built Environment Training Alliance cluster of industry training organisations.
More than 200 Maori had been inducted into the He Toki training programme in the region, with 148 now in the classroom learning nine different trades.
“I know from our community of Kaikoura, there’s about nine of our kids on courses, and some are coming up daily from Timaru.”
Are you going to attend?
A national Te Reo Maori immersion course normally held in Christchurch has been moved to the North Island because of February’s earthquake.
Kura Reo is a week-long programme that takes place four times a year at locations throughout the country.
Each course usually attracts more than 100 intermediate and fluent Maori speakers.
The Christchurch course has been moved to Otaki and will be hosted by Te Wananga o Raukawa and will start on 17 April.
The chief executive of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori (Maori Language Commission), Glenis Phillip-Barbara, says there was no choice but to move it from the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology in the central city.
She says organisers had received up to 40 registrations before the quake, but they can’t be retrieved, so people who want to take part should reapply.