Taratahi-Telford off to good start
‘‘The signs are all there that [Maori] are going to be a bigger part of the agricultural industry in the future.’’
The new Taratahi-Telford relationship has got off to a positive start with a swell in student numbers, largely due to a recent influx of Whenua Kura - Maori agricultural students.
In the two weeks since Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre officially took over the Telford campus near Balclutha, 27 Maori and Pacific trades training programme students have been inducted into courses, bringing student numbers up to about 100.
With the six Whenua Kura already engaged in study since last year, this meant Maori students made up a third of the campus, Taratahi chief executive Arthur Graves confirmed. Taratahi had forged strong ties with the iwi-industry based programme, which would carry on at Telford and build on the initial intake of 10 Whenua Kura students last year.
‘‘Our work is all based on partnerships and collaborations, so we’re partnering with Maori,’’ he said. ‘‘The signs are all there that they’re going to be a bigger part of the agricultural industry in the future.’’
Across Taratahi’s farms and campuses from Northland to Southland, 42 per cent of students were Maori, a Taratahi spokesperson said.
While these students had been inducted through the Hokonui Marae at Gore and introduced to Ngai Tahu culture and values, there was still ‘‘a bedding down period’’ while they got settled into the Telford campus, he said. Whenua Kura and the Hokonui runanga had its own support system for the health and wellbeing of these students.
Wairarapa-based Taratahi was in the process of finalising courses at Telford that reflected vocational education, and the ‘‘real training on real farms’’ ethic, Graves said. The training centre would be working in with other agricultural tertiary subdegree providers such as Massey and Lincoln universities, he said. Study programmes on both the Wairarapa and Telford campuses would be ‘‘future focused’’ to reflect the future of farming, not just in New Zealand but on a global scale.
‘‘It’s going to a matter of how we make sure students have the skills to cope with a changing industry.’’