Māori upskilling for family and Christchurch

Press Release – CPIT

The new Māori trades training scheme at CPIT, He Toki ki te Rika, is providing new opportunities for upskilling and young Māori are taking up the challenge. Among them is Tihema Brown, who signed up for a pre-trade plasterboard programme after … 6/10/11

Māori upskilling for family and Christchurch

The new Māori trades training scheme at CPIT, He Toki ki te Rika, is providing new opportunities for upskilling and young Māori are taking up the challenge.

Among them is Tihema Brown, who signed up for a pre-trade plasterboard programme after hearing about He Toki on the radio and through friends. Tihema was working as a sheet metal worker, but saw an opportunity to provide a better life for his family.

“I saw it as a good start for my future,” Tihema said. “I’ve got kids and a family and I’ve got to think about the long term. With Christchurch being the way it is, I am hoping to get into the industry and make a lot of money for my family for the future.”

Proudly born and bred Cantabrian, from Wairewa near Little River, Tihema is also driven by the desire to help rebuild Christchurch. “Being brought up here, after the earthquakes and all that it was a bit tough, but we’ll get through it eh? I really want to be a part of the rebuild and try to help everyone I could help. It is very touching. I just can’t wait really, can’t wait. The people I have spoken to and the people they know… it’s gonna be crazy I believe. There’s going to be a lot of work.”

He Toki ki te Rika was launched on 21 June with funding from Te Puni Kōkiri and in partnership with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Te Tapuae o Rehua, CPIT and the Built Environment Training Alliance (BETA) workgroup, with support from Ngāi Tahu Property. Designed to direct Māori into leadership positions for the rebuild of Christchurch, the initiative also aligns with CPIT’s strategies for Māori and Pasifika Achievement. Along with 12 to 14 week foundation programmes in carpentry, painting & decorating, plasterboard, plumbing and drainlaying, the collaboration also offers upskilling programmes to foster leadership opportunities.

Tihema’s father trained as a carpenter as part of the original Māori Trades Training programme that operated at several venues including CPIT from the ‘60s to ‘80s. “He’s one of those old school guys who work hard. If you put in the work you reap the rewards – that’s what my dad tried to teach me. It gets you there in the end. You always want better for your own kids, so it’s about that really.”

Tihema’s message to people who “don’t have any direction, they think it’s about waking up and taking it day by day” is to consider their options. “There’s an opportunity here to get out of the rut if you want to make something of yourself or at least make a bit more money than you would staying around at home. I really believe it is the way, if you jump on board it will take you places you’d never have believed.”

The first step was making contact with He Toki programme staff, which Tihema found was quite easy. “I know the people at CPIT, I have known them previously and you can come in here and it’s just like talking to your sister, one of your aunties or something, it’s about the whānau that we have.”

The connection to iwi and to other Māori and Pacific Islander students was important, Tihema said.

After completing his course at the end of the year Tihema will look for an apprenticeship or employment. “A lot of people put all the boys down and say they won’t amount to much but I believe that they can. It’s about trying to break through that wall and trying to achieve better – trying to reach for the stars they reckon.”

ENDS

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