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School just wasn’t working for 17-year-old Reann, but she was prepared to give a 10-month conservation course for young Māori a go. Graduating alongside seven other students last November, she said it’s the best thing she’s ever done.
The course, delivered by NMIT in partnership with the Department of Conservation (DOC), has helped Reann to become more confident and excited about her future. She now knows what she wants to do with her life and has the skills and knowledge to make it happen. Reann was exactly the person the Moturoa Project was designed for.
The purpose of Project Moturoa is to offer up to 22 young people (rangatahi) across Te Tau Ihu the opportunity to gain valuable conservation skills, supported by mātauranga Māori, each year. NMIT delivers the technical aspects of the 10-month NCEA Level 4 programme, which covers conservation from a Māori worldview.
NMIT is the only tertiary institute in the country that offers this Kaitiaki Whenua Trainee Ranger programme, which includes on-campus classes, practical training in the field, and regular Marae visits. The Moturoa project was designed specifically with rangatahi in mind, acknowledging that they are a critical component of future capability and capacity and succession planning for iwi.
The content includes culturally safe practices in management of archaeological sites, wāhi tapu (sacred places), urupā (burial grounds) and other taonga (treasures). The participants are also shown how to maintain and manage important ecosystems, including harakeke/flax wetlands which provide a sustainable source of materials for rāranga (weaving), as well as culturally significant sites for gathering kai and harvesting medicinal plants.
Reann says it was good to be learning in the Māori world. “We all came from different iwi but most of us had mutual connections,” she said. “From here, I’d like to work for DOC, get more qualified and my end goal will be to work with iwi.”
Reann is now working for Kono(external link), a family-owned Māori food and artisan producer of award-winning wine, cider, seafood, fruit and natural fruit bars.
The Moturoa Project is running again in 2020 and applications are currently open, entry requirements do have some flexibility about age and if you don't have a connection with your iwi we can help with this too, talk to our team today.
Learn more about the Kaitiaki Whenua Trainee Ranger, Level 4