Seven lucky He Toki ki te Rika (He Toki) students and graduates showed off their skills during the recent visit of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall to the Re start Mall as part of their tour of Christchurch. The selected students and graduates competed against each other to build planter boxes utilising the skills they have learned in the He Toki trade training programme. The planter boxes constructed by the students will be donated to local marae.

He Toki is led by Ngāi Tahu in partnership with CPIT (The Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology,) and Hawkins Construction. This unique collaborative model leverages the existing knowledge, experience and expertise of partner organisations to introduce a new era of Māori trade training in Christchurch. Over the next year the aim of the trade training programme is to support a further 200 Māori to contribute to the Canterbury rebuild.

He Toki students are taught in a cultural environment, which involves tikanga and use of te reo. The He Toki pre-trade training courses are 12 to 20 weeks long covering programmes in carpentry, painting and decorating, plasterboard, plumbing, masonry, fabricating, drain laying, wielding and engineering.

He Toki students also complete the work readiness passport, which was designed by industry partners Hawkins Construction to prepare graduates for the workplace. The passport teaches the students work ready skills such as CV writing, gaining site safe certificates and driver’s license preparation.

From left Larena Iti, Amos Neate and Raniera Matiu with Prince Charles.