15 Nov Iwi training and employment partnership benefits all
Future career pathways for young Maori is the clear success of the iwi employment and training programme Natural Habitats has been running on its significant motorway landscape projects.
13 members of the Te Atiawa iwi near Wellington were employed on the McKay to Pekapeka expressway project and given a wide range of training from site safe, to grow safe qualifications as well as support towards gaining their Level 4 Certificate in Horticulture, says Natural Habitats Wellington Regional Manager, Tim Broadbent.
“Te Atiawa were very responsive and set up interviews with us at their local office, so they did most of the HR work and came up with a list of suitable candidates,” explains Tim.
“In the first year we employed 13 people directly from the iwi. They ranged from school leavers right up to people who were about to retire. And that age range has been quite positive because the older people in the group have mentored the younger staff. And we’ve gelled together a very good team which works together very well.”
One of those more mature iwi members to be employed was Steve Kearney.
“I’m 64 and I’ve been a green fingers since I was ready to walk,” says Steve. “I was looking for another challenge and certainly got it. The encouragement I am giving these young guys working for Natural Habitats is to give them a pathway in horticulture with the Level Four primary ITO horitculture courses being the ultimate goal.”
Another iwi member gaining income and essential experience is Ra Hori who is also studying for a Bachelor in Landscape Architecture degree.
“Coming into this job really helped me get an understanding of the practical side of horticulture and getting to know the plants,” says Ra. “I’m very proud to be part of this huge project. It’s actually encouraging the young ones, especially Maori rangitahi to get out there and work and build some kind of platform for themselves for the future. “
Natural Habitats has similar working relationships with other iwi on the large scale motorway projects around the country where Natural Habitats has been awarded the landscaping contracts including Tainui Waikato iwi on the Waikato expressway projects.
And once the projects are completed, there is follow on landscape maintenance work to continue the employment as well as other projects Natural Habitats is working on such as retirement villages and sub-divisions.
“It’s all been around giving them a start in life to go onto future employment,” says Tim. “We’re hoping to pick up other NZTA jobs in the region and we will keep these staff on without a doubt.”
Click on this link to watch a video about Natural Habitats successfully working with local iwi: