Ongoing efforts to encourage Maori into higher paying jobs and advance prosperity will receive a $45,000 boost from BayTrust.
The grant will help pay for initiatives such as free coding and robotics workshops for Maori intermediate and secondary school students.
The substantial grant is being given to Toi Kai Rawa – the Bay's regional Maori economic development agency – whose goal is to support local Maori to exceed the national average income levels by 2030 and thrive in all sectors of society.
Toi Kai Rawa's General Manager/Kaihautū, Awhina Ngatuere, says Maori and Pasifika will make up 30 per cent of New Zealand's workforce in less than a decade, with that figure rising to 50 per cent by 2050 – yet they remain over-represented in the lower skilled end of our labour market.
'We are working on foundational projects to help accelerate local Maori into high value jobs and have got a strong emphasis on STEAM pathways (science, technology, engineering, arts and math),” she explains.
One new initiative is called Hihiko Te Rawa Auaha – Innovation Hubs Embedded in Communities, which will launch at Baycourt on Tuesday, May 25.
A day of free robotics and coding workshops will be provided for Year 7 to Year 10 Maori students to encourage them to embrace training and career pathways they might not otherwise be aware of.
Hihiko Te Rawa Auaha aims to unlock community innovation with a focus on digital enablement and STEAM capability.
Supported by Spark Foundation and Digital Futures Aotearoa, the programme aims to work with 30 Maori communities across the wider Bay of Plenty over the next three years.
'About 44 per cent of all young people in the Bay of Plenty are Maori. So there's a strong emphasis on working with rangatahi and building pathways to high value education, training and employment,” Ngatuere explains.
Other successful events run by Toi Kai Rawa include Ko Maui Hangarau (KMH) which showcases excellence in Maori tech, innovation and entrepreneurship to Maori school students, and an annual regional rangatahi Maori summit.
Anecdotally, Toi Kai Rawa knows about two thirds of Maori households across the region are struggling from one pay cheque to the next.
Ngatuere says there's a real opportunity to make a step change if we invest in enduring solutions for our rangatahi in particular.
'It's going to take some time for meaningful foundations to be embedded so our people can seize opportunities for the future. Fostering the conditions in our region for our people to realise what their natural talents and skills are, what their passions are, and ‘belief in self' is what we are setting out to do. If our people can unlock this, they can achieve anything they desire.”
She applauds BayTrust for believing in Toi Kai Rawa's kaupapa and says the organisation is looking forward to working together to create the collective impact needed for thriving Bay of Plenty communities.
BayTrust CEO Alastair Rhodes says for Maori to succeed economically, it's crucial that Māori design, lead and implement their own development opportunities.
'Toi Kai Rawa is the first kaupapa regional Māori economic development agency of its kind in the country and they are independent of local government and ensuing political cycles which is rare. They have a proven track record of success and are on the right path to create long-term change. We're delighted to support the work they are doing by approving this $45,000 grant.”
BayTrust works to help strengthen Bay of Plenty communities by providing charitable, cultural, philanthropic, recreational, and other benefits to accelerate bold meaningful change, helping local communities and the environment to flourish.
Schools interested in the upcoming Hihiko Te Rawa Auaha event (coding and robotics workshop) at Baycourt can register on Eventbrite or email email@example.com for more information.