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Constructing a Better Future with a Nod to the Past

Approximately 20 NZMA Construction students were warmly welcomed onto the Marae at Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, with a traditional pōwhiri to signal the beginning of a vocational and spiritual journey. 

construction students on marae

Fifteen of the participating students are recipients of the Māori and Pasifika Trades Training: Auckland (MPTT Auckland) scholarships offered by NZMA, who has recently become a member of the MPTT Auckland consortia. 

The students will be working at the marae one day a week, to put into practice the skills they are learning during their Certificate in Building Level 4 programme at NZMA.  Students started the 20-week programme on 28 August, which sets them up to enter the construction industry as an apprentice or entry-level employee.


Wyllis Maihi, Chairperson of Komiti Marae Ōrākei Trust says that the building projects that students will be embarking on at the Ōrākei Marae site will provide them with valuable hands-on practical experience, where they will have the opportunity to transform an old villa into a fully functioning multiple learning space, as well as perform reinforcement work on the Wharenui.


NZMA Senior Tutor, Aaron Reid will supervise and keep a watchful eye on the young men and women, alongside Ōrākei marae tradespeople, who will act as mentors to the young tradies for the duration of the joint venture.


NZMA Regional Manager, Monique Le Marque says: “We are thrilled to be working with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei iwi.  Gaining the hands-on experience in building, which the project offers, is integral to our students’ educational experience.  However, equally important is the spiritual understanding of their connection to the past whether Māori, Pasifika or any other ethnicity. The historical and cultural knowledge which Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei will impart to students will serve to enrich their knowledge, and will be a significant factor in these students becoming highly contributing citizens of New Zealand’s future workforce.”

Pictured here, NZMA students receive briefing from Wyllis.

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