Gayle Wellington & Rodney Ngawaka - Ngatiwai Education

The good news for the iwi is that, following a positive NZQA review, Ngātiwai Education Te Au Here O Tūkaiaia is looking forward to designing and running more programmes for the people of Te Taitokerau, opening the way for further implementation of their strategic plan.

Here’s how it happened and what programmes they are providing. 

Establishing education capacity and capability

Although nga marae ō Ngātiwai have long been involved in community education, (which is often defined as education for the community within the community), the pathway to getting accepted as a funded provider or wānanga/place of learning started back in 2010 when their trust board received a proposal from the Ministry of Education to carry out a cultural scan on the state of Māori education in their rohe. They already had in-depth data showing educational achievement statistics, so the next step was to carry out an extensive consultation process: they asked people about their goals and aspirations, what their tupuna wanted for them, what they want for their own mokopuna, the barriers to achieving their goals within the current education system, and what needs to change to allow them to engage more fully in education. In terms of goals there were three big ones - financial independence, health and education. In terms of the changes needed, the majority of those involved in consultation process talked about wanting Māori-focussed education - an education system that teaches them about who they are and responds to their tikanga. Then there was access to education. For example many rural people said that they would send their children to pre-school if there was one that was accessible.

Gayle Wellington Dowsett is now the Manager of Ngātiwai Education, taking over from Erica Wellington who has retired. When the Ministry looked at the results of the consultation process they asked Erica and the Ngātiwai research team if they would like to develop a Ngātiwai strategic plan for education and te reo. They did, and since then the iwi education team has been getting contracts to implement parts of the strategic plan. The Ministry of Education has been the main funder, putting money into around five contracts currently including: providing support for 190 Māori in schools to achieve NCEA standards; intensive support in schools and with whānau to improve national standards for Māori students studying at Ls 2 to 8; a positive parenting programme; and increasing Māori enrolments in preschool. In 2014 the education team joined with other iwi in Te Taitokerau to collaborate with the Te Matarau Education Trust to get more learners aged 18-34 into trades training. Over the years Ngātiwai has also had a contract with Te Puni Kokiri to provide a suicide prevention programme, research grants from lotteries and MSD and Ma Te Reo funding.

The other delivery process has been collaboration with NorthTec or PTEs - with Ngātiwai self-funding their share of the partnership. Courses have included Arataki Manu Kōrero, Kauwai Raupapa -Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, a National Certificate in Māori (Te Waharoa) (L 2), Pokaitahi, a NZ Certificate in Māori Tourism L2 programme using their kaumatua as tutors, and an Outdoor Education L2 for disengaged school leavers.

In 2014 Ngātiwai formed a PTE and applied for funding for the next two years. They missed out so they set about getting a good track record by offering a self-funded NZQA approved Ngātiwai driver licence courses. They held two in 2015 and one in 2016.

Then in 2016 Ngātiwai Education Te Au Here O Tūkaiaia was reviewed by NZQA. “We got a Category 2,” says Gayle, “which we were thrilled with.” Now she has applied for the new round of TEC PTE funding and the programme they are launching with is Tohu Atawhai, Manaaki Marae a hospitality L3 programme - caring for people and all their needs in a way that respects tikanga.

Manaaki hospitality

This NZQA programme was written by Erica Wellington. It is a L3 programme that combines the skills and knowledge required for Māori-focused hospitality.

The curriculum was developed in partnership with the Hospitality School at NorthTec - they helped to facilitate the process with NZQA.

“It is a unique programme”, says Gayle. “It is taught on a marae and it marries marae catering with commercial catering. There are similarities and differences. The commercial part of the programme is taught at the restaurant at the Oceans Resort Hotel Tutukaka. The chef from that restaurant comes to our students on the marae: he teaches them things, and they teach him. Ako we call it. The basis of a lot of the programme is learning the whakapapa of the food and the different stages that it goes through from land or sea to table. It is about the wairua: the more stages it goes through, the less whole it is. Their classes on the marae catering are led by Kawiti Waetford and Leila Amos.”

The 60-credit courses lead to a New Zealand Certificate L3 in Manaaki marae. For their first course they have 16 participants. Mostly they are between 16-25 years with a few older star students.

And what’s on the list for future course? Gayle says they are not short of plans. In the first instance they are working hard on getting more Māori into hospitality. Nick from Wahi and Schnapper Rock cafe is a partner in tohu atawhai as they want more Māori faces in hospitality to give an Ahi Kaa presence. Ngātiwai education is also working towards beekeeping education and the training needed to get their rangatahi and others into fishing (the iwi owns a fishing company). And there are plans to develop aqua culture.

“There are so many ideas,” says Gayle, “It is a team effort and all of Ngātiwai and tauira who live in the Ngātiwai rohe contribute ideas on what courses we need and want to run from Ngātiwai Education. An emphasis on a Māori world view is our signature kaupapa.”