The relationship between EIT Tairāwhiti and Te Runanga o Ngāti Porou recently moved to a new level with the graduation of the first students, and scholarships awarded to the new crew, all of whom will be working on Tikapa Marae near Ruatoria.
The uniqueness of the partnership, which started in 2012 with the restoration of the nearby Te Horo Marae, was highlighted by runanga chairman Dr Apirana Mahuika and EIT Tairāwhiti campus director Jan Mogford.
Dr Mahuika said it had been a “momentous occasion” when the groups first mooted the carpentry model that would see training, employment and work completed for communities on the East Coast.
For it now to be at the next stage was very exciting.
“Key to going forward is dialogue,” he said. “With that we can do away with that which is difficult and find a path forward.” While there was much to be done, he was looking forward to future discussions which could include other trade training.
Thanks were extended by all to those who had worked to make the relationship a success. Jan described it as a true celebration.
“This is really a unique programme,” she said. “You won’t find anywhere else where carpentry is offered on a marae full time.
It is contributing so much to the marae and the wider community.”
With the work at Te Horo Marae now complete, work has started at Tikapa Marae. The seven recently-graduated level three students, who would now be working towards their level four qualification, would be joined by a new batch of students, who each received $5,500 scholarships to cover their studies.
Jan said she hoped the five new students would follow in the footsteps of those before them and go on to become qualified carpenters.
“There are a lot of exciting things going on around Māori trade training, and this relationship is an absolute example of how it works at its best.”
Te Horo Marae kaumātua Eru Paenga extended heart-felt thanks to those who had assisted in the restoration of his marae.
In welcoming everyone to Tikapa Marae, the Reverend Boysie Te Maro said the relationship had lifted all of their spirits. Other schemes had failed them but he felt this was different.
“Other schemes did not have a finish,” he said. “But you (the students) now have a bright new life in here.”
The turning point had been when the parties involved had met with Reverend Te Maro, “had a good talk” and put his mind to peace.
“We can stand back but we are happy to now be part of it all.”
He was hopeful the carpentry students would stay even longer and do more much-needed work around the marae.
“There is a lot of work to be done here and we would like to keep you all here until it is finished!”
All of the speakers paid tribute to Lillian Baldwin-Tangaere and the effort she had put into the relationship and both marae.
In receiving a thank you gift from Te Horo Marae, graduating student Dion Te Moananui and Jesse Haenga both said how much the programme had meant to them and the enjoyment they received in working at the marae with their fellow students and tutor Paki Dewes.
“It was awesome to turn up every day and work,” said Jesse.
Paki also thanked everyone involved, saying the personal reward in helping communities restore their marae was far greater than anyone could imagine.
Hearing the old stories from kaumätua while they worked was another huge bonus.
“It’s good for us all to be reminded and to hear the whakapapa,” he said.
It had not always been easy working with sometimes challenging students, but the perseverance from both sides paid huge dividends for all.
He is looking forward to the completion of the Tikapa Marae project, which includes a complete rebuild of the ablution block, a kitchen extension, reroofing of all buildings, new footpaths, fencing and more.
Twelve students are working full time on the job which is expected to run through until July this year.
Level three carpentry scholarship recipients – Simon Biddle, Brandon Smith,Jesse Haenga, Te Hei Kingi Kaiwai, Claude Paul, Kelvin Esau, Dion Te Moananui.