Te Aupōuri look to the South Island to hook rangatahi into mahi

By James Perry

The far north iwi is looking at the fishing industry at the top of Te Waipounamu for employment opportunities for its people.

Te Aupōuri commercial manager Penetaui Kleskovic and chief executive Mariameno Kapa-Kingi led the delegation to Nelson recently, where they visited Talley's facilities.

Kleskovic told teaomaori.news the reconnaissance trip was twofold, to find employment opportunities to help the people in the north struggling to get jobs, while also gaining an understanding of the industry.

"In the past, Te Ohu Kaimoana set aside funding for scholarships to get our people into roles in the industry.

"They [our people] are looking for work. Our people in the north are constantly belittled but let's not forget the strength of this fish (the North Island) is in the north. What we're wanting is to help our people into the fishing industry, bearing in mind it's an industry that Māori are known for."

Kleskovic says Te Aupōuri is also looking at ways of creating opportunities in the north so whānau don't need to leave to find mahi.

"If I look at Nintey  Mile Beach, 80% of mussel spat come from there. But the people of the north don't have jobs or see the benefits from the likes of Sealord's, Talley's and Westpac Mussels."

He says they're hoping to learn from the big players in the industry how to create their own facilities to reap the benefits that others are profiting from.

"How can we create a mussel farm like that of Te Whakatōhea at Ōpōtiki here in a place like Houhor?. The Provincial Growth Fund created a wharf here to increase the capacity of the industry here in Te Tai Tokerau."