Trade training in Te Reo Māori launched in Waikato

By Tumamao Harawira

 Te Wharekura o Ngā Taiātea students from Hamilton are about to kickstart trade training in Te Reo Māori, following the launch of a new Te Reo Māori unit standard.

Ngā Taiātea has teamed up with building industry training organisation BCITO to provide the first NCEA level 3 building, construction and allied trades skills (BCATS) units in Te Reo Māori. Up until now, only English versions have been available. This is a landmark moment for BCITO and signals its intent to work closely with Māori.

Ngā Taiātea Principal Michelle Treadaway-Ohia is adamant about what this means for her kura. "This is the first time a unit standard has been translated into Māori, and this resource will be very useful here at this school to let the children know Te Reo Māori has great mana."

BCITO's Garyth Arago-Kemp says the organisation has had a long association with Ngā Taiātea.

"We've had that relationship since about 12 years ago through the careers days and options. We came along as an ITO. We wanted to again strengthen our relationships."

BCITO manages apprenticeships for the building and construction industry in New Zealand. 

BCITO supports secondary schools to deliver the Building, Construction, and Allied Trades Skills (BCATS) suite through the provision of student and teacher resources. Students can achieve the BCATS unit standards as a school subject through TEC’s Gateway programme, trades academies, MPTTs, and or through programmes designed for second-chance learners.

The Te Reo Māori BCAT qualifications have been developed to help engage with Māori secondary schools and encourage more Māori to consider careers in the building and construction industry.

These can also be used as NCEA unit standards, and Ngā Taiātea students get the first opportunity to use this resource though it's hoped that this can be offered to other wharekura from around Aotearoa.

"So the resources are given to the wharekura. They're delivered through their kaiako and the assessment is done through the kaiako at the school," Arago-Kemp says. "Then the practical essence is given on the outside, and BCITO is the pathway into the employers and so forth."

At the apprenticeship level, while Māori make up 19% of all BCITO enrollments, they have only a 69% credit completion rate. In comparison, non-Māori apprentices have an 82% completion rate, and BCITO wants to improve the Māori stats.

The first Te Reo qualifications will be released for NCEA Level Three, with plans for NCEA levels two and one are in the works.