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July 08, 2020
Te Ōhanga Māori

Whano - Towards futures that work for Māori

Imagining a preferable future that creates the opportunities for Māori to thrive in an ever changing economy was the catalyst for Whano - Towards Futures that Work: How Māori Can Lead Aotearoa Forward.

“What we are talking about here is not solving Māori unemployment, it’s a much bigger wellbeing issue where we need to work collectively to ensure a fair and equitable Aotearoa that sees all our tamariki and rangatahi flourish,” says Dr Eruera Tarena, Executive Director of Tokona Te Raki - Māori Futures Collective.

“The data shows that Māori are over represented in lower pay occupations vulnerable to change and underrepresented in higher skill jobs which have a level of resilience and the current global pandemic has really highlighted this. However, while these are challenging times, the reality is that out of crises comes the opportunity to reimagine the future – one that benefits all not just some in our community.”

The report explores the forces and impacts known to affect the workforce in Aotearoa both historically and in the present and how these influence career pathways for Māori.

A collaboration between Waikato-Tainui, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and BERL, Whano - Towards Futures that Work is one of a series of data reports designed to gain greater insight into the systemic and structural bias that historically has limited educational achievement and marginalised many Māori into low-skill blue collar employment.

“We have a unique opportunity, through work like this, to create a framework for future prosperity that is equitable and thriving, and is an exciting environment for not only our rangatahi entering the workforce but also Māori already in the workforce,” says Hillmare Schulzè from Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL).

"The conversation on inclusion and equity needs to be live, and it is our responsibility, as organisations, as well as individuals, to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to be a strong voice in this conversation.”

A key component of the research was gaining first-hand insights from rangatahi and those already in the workforce about their dreams and aspirations and views on the future.

“It is evident that the constant bombardment of doomsday predictions about the future of work – climate change, the takeover by robots – is creating a growing unease about the future for Māori and this has only been exacerbated by COVID-19,” says Dr Tarena. 

The report provides a shared vision for what that future might look like and offers three key ingredients for how to achieve it:

  1. An authentic Treaty partnership between Māori and the Crown
  2. A system that delivers and measures skills and competencies, not just qualifications
  3. Equal access to life-long learning.

Between the 2013 and 2018 Census, the number of working Māori in Aotearoa increased by 50 percent and in 2018 made up 14 percent of the total working-age population. This growth is predicted to continue.

“Māori are a younger and faster growing population, needed to lead the nation forward. As a nation we have the choice to return back to what was, or break the ties of the past and create a path towards a better tomorrow,” says Dr Tarena. “Let’s work together to ensure history doesn’t repeat.”

To read the report, click here.