Te Ara Mahi Māori

Te Ara Mahi Māori reference group recommended what to include in the Action Plan.

In 2020, an independent reference group – Te Ara Mahi Māori – was formed to recommend to the Government what to include in the Action Plan. The name Te Ara Mahi Māori represents the group’s aspirations to build pathways to inclusive, sustainable and productive work for Māori.

Te Ara Mahi Māori met various government agencies to identify gaps and opportunities, and discuss how to align its recommendations with work already underway. These meetings were supported by background research on topics that have an impact on Māori employment.

In February 2021, Te Ara Mahi Māori gave the Minister for Social Development and Employment its interim report. This report recommended 2 actions that could be implemented immediately. Work has already begun to:

  • develop a comprehensive map of the Government’s employment services for Māori
  • develop communications that highlight Māori role models, and successful Māori employment and businesses case studies.

In mid-2021, Te Ara Mahi Māori led 11 hui with Māori to share whakaaro, test and gain insights on the group’s ideas. Nine hui took place, in person, across the motu; one was online; and one was specifically for rangatahi.

In August 2021, Te Ara Mahi Māori presented their recommendations to the Minister for Social Development and Employment in their final report.

The whakapapa of the Action Plan

The waka as a metaphor for the journey through work

To develop their recommendations, Te Ara Mahi Māori used the metaphor of a waka moving through a whole of life journey in the world of work. Through this metaphor, Te Ara Mahi Māori highlighted that Māori must be empowered to achieve their aspirations at every stage of their working lives.

The group divided a person’s pathway – ara – through the world of work into four stages. If the actions in each stage are well designed and implemented, they will equip Māori to succeed and flourish, by empowering them to access work that is meaningful, rewarding and supports their wellbeing and that of their whānau.

These are the 4 stages of the pathway.

Three main focus areas

The vision of the Action Plan is that Māori exercise rangatiratanga to create intergenerational wellbeing through work.

The waka metaphor is reflected in the Action Plan’s 3 focus areas:

  • People. The Action Plan must set Māori up with a solid foundation (te takere) and enable them to benefit from the stability of the sideboards (ngā rauawa), by ensuring they have the skills and knowledge to lead, and succeed at, all stages of their careers.
  • Workplaces. The Action Plan must enable Māori to seamlessly navigate (te taurapa) the world of work, so that they thrive in workplaces that have good conditions and are free from discrimination.
  • Futures. The Action Plan must prepare Māori for the future direction of work, and the opportunities that come with it (te tauihu), by ensuring iwi, hapū and Māori are leaders in future-focused and sustainable sectors.

Government support for the recommendations

The Government supports the intent and direction reflected in the recommendations Te Ara Mahi Māori has made.

Te Ara Mahi Māori acknowledges that good work is already underway that contributes to the outcomes it wants to see achieved by the Action Plan. The Action Plan is an opportunity to continue this progress, as well as focus on where we can do better.

The Action Plan provides an overview of what the Government is already doing to improve outcomes for Māori, and sets out further actions the Government will carry out in the immediate-, medium- and long-term.

This Action Plan is a living document. It will be updated when actions are completed and as labour market outcomes change. Future iterations of the Action Plan will continue to draw on the recommendations made by Te Ara Mahi Māori.

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