Tēnā koutou i runga anō i ō koutou āhuatanga maha. Ko whakarauika mai ā-iwi tātou katoa, ko whatua tonutia ngā aho tīpuna o te whare kia kaha. Tama tū, tama ora ko mau te toki ki te rika, he kai kei ō tātou ringaringa mō tātou, ā, mō ka uri ā muri ake nei.

By the time you read this, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will have met some of our He Toki ki te Rika graduates and current students.

The graduates and students were among a number of people the royal couple met during their tour of Ōtautahi.

The He Toki programme is proving a great success. He Toki is the Māori trade training programme at CPIT, which was launched last year to connect Māori to the recovery of Ōtautahi. The course is supported by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Te Tapuae o Rehua, CPIT, Hawkins Construction and Te Puni Kōkiri.

It’s no secret that I am a supporter of the programme, particularly its aim to make leaders of our people. I am impressed that so far over 200 students have been through the course. The students start off with pre-trade training qualifications and a work readiness passport and our expectation is that they go on to become qualified tradespeople and eventually progress to project leaders and business owners.

We know this path isn’t easy, so to help, the He Toki students are taught in a supportive cultural environment, learning tikanga and te reo. Also, Hawkins Construction have created a programme to get students ready for work. The programme Hawkins developed is the work readiness passport, which gives the students a set of practical skills, such as having a CV ready and having site safe tickets that they can show to employers to prove they are ready for work.

We are really grateful for their input and commitment to helping our people succeed. Indeed, we are grateful to all the partners who continue to commit funding and time to the project.

If we look at the statistics for this year’s student intake, I’m reasonably pleased with the result. Of the 116 who began the course, 90 completed. Of those 90, 40 are now in full time employment and 39 have gone into further study. I understand the others are contemplating further study or seeking work, so I hope that they all reach the short-term goals they have set themselves and then go on to do much more.

The programme will continue next year and now is the perfect time to get ready to be part of the recovery of Ōtautahi. With the $30 billion dollar investment into the region, there is going to be lots of jobs and lots of chances to up skill. We are anticipating that there will be 200 fully funded He Toki places next year. So if you know someone who might benefit, or you are reading this and think you might be interested in the course then call CPIT’s Centre of Māori and Pacifika Achievement on 0800 24 24 76.

And finally a short reminder whānau, if you would like to provide us with some feedback on Hui-ā-Iwi, please do so during the hui, or you can do so after the event via the Ngāi Tahu website.