Growing Our Region

Iwi employment facilitation programme making great progress

​Over the past six months, Te Kotuku Hauora, the iwi health and social service for Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa has been delivering Tu Ora, an employment facilitation programme for iwi members. 
The initiative is part of a holistic approach to health and wellbeing in which education and employment are seen as paramount in improving the health of the community. It is currently funded by the Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK) Māori potential fund under a nine month contract.

Alan Turia is the employment broker for the project and he works tirelessly to place both iwi and non iwi members with appropriate employers.

Above: Alan and Chonotae McLean-Woon outside the Te Kotuku Hauora building. 
In June, TPK set Alan the target of 15 full time placements, and to date 10 have been signed off under the programme.  A further 24 individualsoutside of the funded programme have also gained full time employment. Placements have been made with businesses from Whanganui to Palmerston North, with locations in between.

Tu Ora was initially a pilot programme under the Whānau Ora initiative and now similar programmes are being run across the country. General Manager for Te Kokuku Hauora, Grace Taiaroa believes that due to the programme’s success there is a real possibility for other funding opportunities.

“We have seen some real success in this initial stage, those who have found employment have grown in personal confidence, setting them up for brighter future prospects,” says Grace.

“If we can secure other funding opportunities, it would allow us to plan and set goals for the long-term which would be fantastic.”

Alan agrees.

“We are really pleased with the progress we have made so far, the support from TPK has kick started this programme and opened doors for young people in particular, to gain employment,” Alan says.

The Tu Ora programme also subsidises education opportunities to assist in gaining employment. These include sitting drivers’ licences, attending first aid courses and the purchasing of specialist clothing.

“At the marae we run a number of courses such as first aid and fork lift driving which have been hugely popular,” Alan says.

“The lack of a driver licence or first aid certificate, or even the inability to purchase appropriate clothing can often be seen as a workplace barrier and we are working to overcome this. “

Alan aims to place those on the programme within any sector; however he does have a preference for apprenticeships.

“An apprenticeship can set a young person up for a long-term career,” he says.

“Yet at the moment there just aren’t enough apprenticeships to go around, it can be a real challenge to place some people in the industries they are interested in, when the roles just aren’t there.

“That said, sometimes you have to think outside the box in order to find suitable placements.

“One example is that of one of our iwi members Chonatae, she is relishing the opportunity of a six-week placement as receptionist right here at Te Kotuku Hauora.

“Hopefully the experience she gains will give her the confidence to apply for and be successful in similar roles in the future.”

Alan mentioned another challenge is the lack of confidence possessed by a number of people on the programme.

“Some of them have never even written a CV before, let alone attended a job interview.”

Those challenges are off-set by some significant highlights for Alan.

“So far we have placed four apprenticeships with one more in the pipeline,” he says.

“But perhaps more importantly, a real highlight is seeing the boost in confidence and the joy on an individual’s face when they talk about their new job.

“They are so grateful for the job and the appropriate gear to start the mahi.”

Grace and Alan are looking forward to building the Tu Ora programme into the future.

“The Tu Ora programme is a key part of our iwi’s values, supporting members holistically to empower themselves and their community,” says Grace.

“It might be early days but we already making a difference, so we are incredibly proud of what we have achieved.”

To find out more about Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa visit their website