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High Demand for Maori and Pacific Trades Training Programme

Huge increase in Whenua Kura Māori Pacific Trades Training Programme at Telford

The growth of job, career and business opportunities in the Primary Sector has seen a 100% increase in students signing up for the Māori and Pacific Trades Training programme at Telford.

Telford agricultural training operations were recently transferred from Lincoln University to Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre.

A partnership between Taratahi and the Whenua Kura Charitable Trust will see the Trust’s dairy, dry stock and beekeeping programmes become a staple offering at the Telford campus.

Whenua Kura, kaihautu Renata Hakiwai says the high demand for the programme showed young Māori and Pacifica were drawn to the growing job opportunities in the primary sector.

The thirty young people who come from all four corners of New Zealand begin their course with three days at the Hokonui Marae in Gore where they are introduced to Ngāi Tahu culture and values. They will then be offered a range of different qualifications they can complete in the year long programme based on the working farm at Telford.

"Māori Agribusiness is now worth in excess of $42 billion dollars - so young Māori are seeing both a career path and a way to live and earn a living on many iwi primary sector operations."

"And we know that they are work ready when they have completed these programmes - all 16 students who graduated from last year’s course found jobs straight away.

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"So it’s with a sense of pride and purpose that these young people are signing up for the opportunity to start on the path to a job on the whenua.

"When we heard that Taratahi was looking to acquire Telford we were really keen to expand on our relationship with Telford and forge a new partnership with Taratahi.

"Our students really enjoy vocational education which takes a very hands on experiential approach to learning. So being able to do a course like this on a real farm really appeals to them.

Hokonui Rūnaka Executive Coordinator Terry Nicolas says the rūnanka were delighted to be involved with the programme.

"We really want to support these students as they will be the farmers for our future and they can also connect with Ngāi Tahu tikanga as well. What we want to see in is more Ngāi Tahu students on these courses and ultimately in good jobs."

Taratahi Chief executive Arthur Graves says the partnership with Whenua Kura grows the base of Taratahi’s educational delivery to Māori and Pacifica students at Telford and the Wairarapa campus.

"This is such a key area for the Māori primary sector economy and the New Zealand Primary sector.

" We have had some great successes with our MPTT students who have studied at the Wairarapa campus - so we know that this type of educational delivery is the way to go to fulfil the workforce needs of the sector and lift Māori and Pacifica achievement at the same time."


Whenua Kura Kaupapa

Growing the next generation of Māori leaders for the land based industries through education, employment and enterprise. Whenua Kura is a collective enterprise between iwi and industry based in Ōtautahi, operating across Aotearoa for the collective benefit of growing Māori capability and capacity in the land based industries.

We work collaboratively with influencers including hapū, iwi, Māori land owners, the primary/productive sector, government and whānau. We are committed to a future of mana motuhake for our people where Māori succeed as rangatira (leaders) and kaitiaki (guardians) of our lands, and the environment - ngā tāonga tuku iho.


Taratahi has taken over the Telford Campus and assets from Lincoln. The organisation has a national footprint from Northland to Southland and 42% of the students are Māori. We deliver a range of primary sector courses from Level 2 to Level 4 and a large number of user pays courses as well.

Both the Wairarapa and the Telford Campuses are residential and collectively house 280 students.

Hokonui Runaka

Based in Gore, Hokonui Rūnaka is one of the 18 Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnaka located throughout Te Waipounamu.

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