Sir Pita Sharples is throwing his weight behind a new initiative to get more young Māori and Pacific people into the trades.
He will be joined by Samuelu Sefuiva as ‘champions’ of the Auckland Māori and Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT Auckland) initiative launched in February this year to meet an expected boom in the building and construction industry.
Project Manager Kirk Sargent says he is thrilled, “Both Sir Pita and Sam are men of huge mana and experience, which means they’re in a strong position to command the respect needed to bring CEO-level, cross-sector leaders together."
Sargent says MPTT is not just about recruiting young Māori and Pacific people for free trades training – it’s also about bringing the industry on board with their training as well.
“It’s vital that we have the support of employers so our young people have easy access to employment once they’ve been trained.
Sir Pita and Sam are expected to work to raise the profile of MPTT Auckland and share its benefits with industry leaders.
Sir Pita, former co-leader of the Māori Party, says now is an ideal time for young Māori to be preparing for a career in the trades.
“We’re short of good people in the trades and there’s going to be a marvellous opportunity here in Auckland due to the expected housing explosion.
“This is an exciting venture and I’m really looking forward to being part of it.”
He says similar trade training schemes promoted by the Department of Māori Affairs until the 1970s were hugely successful.
“What amazes me is how many of the Maori (and Pasifika) who went through those schemes are still in the trades, some of them with large staff. I know we can repeat that now.”
The Government is investing $43 million towards helping Māori and Pasifika trades training initiatives across New Zealand, and that's how MPTT is funded.
The initiative involves polytechnics, industry training organisations, community, public organisations, interests, and industry working together to help young Māori and Pacific people gain skilled employment.