Ka Tōnuitanga is a blog focused on discussing issues of Māori development. Today I kick off a series of articles discussing the future of the Māori economy as a forerunner to a book that I am compiling entitled “Ka Tōnuitanga: The Māori Economy in the 21st Century”
With the new Government Budget set to be announced next week, a plethora of pre-budget announcements are being made to build a momentum of positive news stories. One such announcement last week was the expansion of the Māori and Pasifika Trades Training Scheme:
An additional $9.6 million over four years will provide for more Māori and Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT) as demand for the programme continues to grow, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce and Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell say.
“This funding will provide places for 2,500 young Māori and Pasifika learners in MPTT programmes this year, and 3,400 next year, up from just 1,200 in 2014,” Mr Joyce says.
“We are targeting 5,000 learners annually by 2019 as we encourage young Māori and Pasifika to take up a trade and help meet some of the emerging shortages in construction and infrastructure trades particularly.”
The increased funding is something to be celebrated, although as Morgan points our on twitter, there are problematic issues with such an approach. Historically, Māori were seen as only being skilled enough to engage in the trades. Māori boys were taught how to be farmers and factory workers, Māori girls to be seamstresses. While we should not disparage the trades, as there is a real demand for these skills, I strongly believe that we should be promoting a more diverse education platform for Māori youth. Where is the money for our young entrepreneurs to develop the next Xero? For our fashion designers to create the next World? For our film makers to be the next Peter Jackson? And while Universities are producing large numbers of quality Māori lawyers, where are the resources to develop our Māori accountants and business managers? Our food technicians to help drive the likes of Miraka, Miere, and Tohu forwards? Our scientists and engineers to pursue sustainable energy production? Or our doctors and nurses to provide kaupapa health services?
One-off announcements such as the expansion of the trades training programme is a clear indication of a lack of strategic thinking around improving Māori education and developing a workforce that can not just survive, but also thrive in the modern economy. Instead of a strategic, long-term plan to develop the collective skill base required for Māori to thrive in the 21st Century we instead get more of the same 19th century thinking that has failed Māori for generations. The recently released KPMG and ASB report “Māui Rau: Adapting in a Changing World” makes it clear that a new approach to Māori development is needed. The Report sets out 14 Calls to Action. Over the next several weeks, I will discuss each in turn and carry on the conversation started by Māui Rau and, in doing so, aim to build on the strategic framework for Māori development. The 14 Calls to Action are:
- Redefine success
- Seek inspiration
- Be sustainable
- Share the stories
- Enable succession
- Leverage talent
- Be tech-enabled
- Demystify the picture
- Build new-world education models
- Redefine our market opportunity
- Create connected enterprises
- Clarify the horizon
- Invest in prosperity
- Embrace urban populations
There are some wonderful ideas in this list and I look forward to exploring them in more detail over the next several weeks. Let me know your whakaaro in the comments below.