Forestry is a significant contributor and employer in Tairāwhiti.
Tūranga Ararau, as the Iwi Tertiary Education provider of Te Rūnanga o Tūranganui ā Kiwa, wants to enable more local people to progress into managerial or supervisory roles in the forestry sector. To achieve this, Tūranga Ararau have designed a diploma level course (Whakatiputanga Ngahere) to be delivered in Tairāwhiti. Currently, they are awaiting NZQA approval to deliver this programme in 2022.
The Whakatiputanga Ngahere course being delivered in Tairāwhiti would be hugely impactful. Historically, locals wanting to complete the diploma level course have needed to relocate to Rotorua to attend Toi Ohomai.
This has reduced the number of prospective students doing the training, as many have been reluctant to relocate; this requires moving away from whānau, stable living environments and, in some cases, employment. For example, in 2021 there were 11 interested prospective students, but only one enrolled in the Rotorua based course.
Approximately 80% of forestry workers in Tairāwhiti identify as Māori. The majority of these workers are in entry level roles. Having the Whakatiputanga Ngahere course available in Tairāwhiti will give local people with the opportunity to progress into high paying jobs in forestry such as forest managers, advisors, technicians and researchers.