$9.6mil for Māori and Pacific Trade Training

By Heta Gardiner

$9.6mil will be added to Māori and Pacific Trade Training over the next four years. It was announced today by Ministers Steven Joyce, Te Ururoa Flavell, and Sam Lotu-Iiga. Those that help provide these courses feel that this will be money well spent.

WelTec and their partner Whitireia have over 200 Māori students on trade training scholarships.

According to the head of construction, the proof is in the pudding.

WelTec’s Head of construction Neil McDonald says, “To give you an idea of how successful it is, 82% of our students walk into an apprenticeship at the end of the program.”

Mentor David Loma says, “The important thing is they are going into highly skilled employment; they are becoming carpenters at the end of it.”

Malachi Paku was undecided on his future ambitions, but this scholarship helped him make up his mind.

“Because the opportunity came, and the scholarship was there to support myself and my whānau, that's why I went to this first at WELTEC,” says Paku.

“It's good for them, it's good for the wider community, and it’s good for their whānau as well,” says Lomax.

But some feel the funding isn't enough. 

Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene says, “$9.6 million, it's great that it's happening but it's not enough.”

This extra funding will increase the number of scholarship recipients by 2500.