The Level 2 and 3 horticulture course is run in conjunction with Ngāti Kuia and based at Titiraukawa next to Pelorus Bridge.
Under the arrangement NMIT is responsible for the enrolments, administration, tutorial staff and programme delivery and learner services.
Ngāti Kuia markets the programme, together with NMIT, and provides the physical facilities for the programme as well as delivery of mātauranga Māori content and pastoral care.
The course incorporates teaching horticultural skills, including soil health, sustainable seed harvesting and organic pest control to support the Iwi vision to further develop their tribal lands in the Pelorus area.
Traditional Māori knowledge, specific to Ngāti Kuia also strengthens the students’ connection to the Iwi and the land.
Programme Tutor, Kim Hippolite was surprised by how much the cultural component affected the students.
“There is a synergy between Māori culture and the native plant life in New Zealand. The students really responded to this connection as the ethics and values of te ao Māori align strongly with their environmental values.
Programme Coordinator Pam Wood is extremely positive about the partnership, and appreciates the input from Ngāti Kuia, especially the pastoral care for the students and the excellent tutors.
“Through Ngāti Kuia’s involvement we were able to incorporate aspects of Māori culture such as traditional Māori methods for using native plants for medicinal purposes,” says Pam.
She says the historical expertise also enhanced the course material and gave the programme a unique perspective.
Pam believes the partnership is a mutually beneficial relationship and hopes to continue to work with Ngāti Kuia and other iwi where possible.
"We see the value in these partnerships and the importance for the horticulture industry to listen to iwi experiences as mana whenua of New Zealand,” says Pam.
The first intake of students will complete the programme by the end of 2022, although students do have the option of leaving once an NCEA level module is completed.
All of the students completed the first level 2 module which prepares learners for the workforce at entry level positions. Their career opportunities are enhanced with two days a week paid work experience.