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The course, delivered by NMIT in partnership with the Department of Conservation (DOC), has connected Shay to a wealth of iwi knowledge.
Project Motorua graduate Shay Dellow says the knowledge iwi shared during the course was life-changing and enabled her to connect with and understand conservation from a Maori perspective.
Project Moturoa offers young people (rangatahi) across Te Tau Ihu the opportunity to gain valuable conservation skills, supported by mātauranga Māori. The 10-month NCEA Level 4 programme covers conservation from a Māori worldview and is delivered by NMIT at the Richmond Campus.
NMIT is the only tertiary institute in the country offering the Kaitiaki Whenua Trainee Ranger programme, which includes on-campus classes, practical training in the field, and regular Marae visits. Project Moturoa was designed specifically with rangatahi in mind, acknowledging them as the critical component of future capability and succession planning for iwi.
Course content includes culturally safe practices in the management of archaeological sites, wāhi tapu (sacred places), urupā (burial grounds), and other taonga (treasures). Students are 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.
Since graduating in 2020, Shay has been working as a full-time ranger for the Department of Conservation in Westport.
Shay says undertaking the Kaitiaki Whenua Trainee Ranger course played a key role in her ability to understand Maori’s role in conservation from both a practical and personal perspective.
“It’s really exciting for Maori to be able to connect not only with the land but also with iwi in the area. This is a pathway to steer you in a direction to understand yourself a little bit more, what makes us what we are and how we interact with our environment.”