Rangatahi interns contributing to iwi success

Issue: Volume 102, Number 1

Posted: 2 February 2023
Reference #: 1HAZ8S

Growth in the role of the Mātauranga Iwi Leaders Group has led to the development of rangatahi interns who are able to share their unique perspectives and gain invaluable insights into the wants, needs and aspirations of iwi, hāpu and whānau.

Mātauranga Iwi Leaders Group advisors with chair Olivia Hall and lead advisor, Dr Hana O’Regan at the August 2022 National Iwi Chairs Forum held in Ruatōria .

Mātauranga Iwi Leaders Group advisors with chair Olivia Hall and lead advisor, Dr Hana O’Regan at the August 2022 National Iwi Chairs Forum held in Ruatōria .

Over the last few years, the Mātauranga Iwi Leaders Group (MILG) has steadily grown in its capacity to advocate for, and contribute to, the advancement of mātauranga and capability building within iwi, hapū and whānau.

MILG are delegated by National Iwi Chairs Forum (NICF) to identify issues of importance for iwi relating to education and to propose appropriate strategic responses to the NICF and implement agreed positions accordingly. For MILG, the growth in its role has led to the introduction of rangatahi internships.

In 2021 they were fortunate to have Jasmine Te Hira, Hinepounamu Apanui-Barr and Ethan Hall join MILG to share their expert rangatahi perspective and provide support for MILG priorities.

Rangatahi took on their own projects across various work streams, including; kura kaupapa transition research, Ngāpuhi tauira wellbeing measures at ITPs and Alternative Education pathways.

In 2022 MILG welcomed two new rangatahi; Caleb Brothers (nō Waikato, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga me Ngāti Pikiao), and Urukahinga Rei (nō Ngāti Whakaue, Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, Te Arawa), who are responsible for Te Pae Hononga (Digital Inclusion Project) and the MILG Iwi Data Project.

Caleb first heard about the internship through an email that was sent out to all registered Waikato-Tainui members. At first, he was unsure about applying.

“After reading about the National Iwi Chairs Forum (which I hadn’t heard of before), I was a bit apprehensive to apply because I didn’t grow up surrounded by my iwi, and I wasn’t fluent in te reo Māori.”

However, Maxine Graham (who is now the lead advisor for MILG) suggested he meet with her, and she encouraged him to apply anyway.

Despite his apprehensions, Caleb says, “I was ultimately motivated to apply because I think that education has the power to transform not just individual lives but the lives of entire whānau.

“This internship seemed like an awesome opportunity to do what I could to help improve outcomes for Māori in those spaces.”

Skill development

As well as the technical skills development, rangatahi are exposed to kaupapa, strategic thinking and projects that give them invaluable insights as to what Māori people are experiencing and impacted by, and their wants, needs and aspirations in education.

Caleb attributes his supervisor, Maxine Graham, as being especially valuable in assisting him find opportunities and spaces to develop his skills and abilities.

Some of these spaces have included being able to view the world of iwi governance and some of the operations of the Crown.

“I have been able to see how things like policy and procedures are developed or implemented. I have been able to develop my writing and critical thinking skills, as well as being given opportunities to collate and present my findings.

“I have also been able to learn so much about my own iwi, our history and places of significance, as well as being given many opportunities to hear and practise my reo,” Caleb explains.

This internship also gave Caleb insight into how many people are making decisions and working hard to improve education outcomes for all New Zealanders.

Rangatahi intern advisors, Urukahinga Rei and Caleb Brothers at Uepohatu.

Rangatahi intern advisors, Urukahinga Rei and Caleb Brothers at Uepohatu.

“At times it was challenging feeling confident enough to share my thoughts and opinions. However, the whole MILG team have provided me with so much guidance and support. They have helped me to feel confident to share my thoughts and ideas and to see the value that I can bring.”

Making a real difference

A specific highlight for Caleb was being part of different projects that help facilitate digital inclusion. This included working on Te Pae Hononga and with Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | The Ministry of Education in the area of Digital Strategy and Device Distribution. He had a personal interest as he started university in 2020 so spent his first few years having to learn online due to Covid restrictions.

“Experiencing that, I can’t imagine how much more difficult learning would be if you didn’t have access to a good device and strong internet connection.”

Working on these projects meant Caleb could contribute to something with direct positive effects for iwi by reducing barriers to digital inclusion.

MILG rangatahi interns have used their experiences to go on to join various academic, iwi and hapū boards and committees; continue to work with MILG and add to their work programmes; continue with tertiary studies; raise their pēpi and so much more.

For Caleb, at this stage he is focusing on finishing university, then hopefully doing a year of full immersion te reo Māori. From there he is thinking of going into private practice or working in policy, or a similar field.

“While doing this internship, my ideas of the kinds of careers and opportunities that are out there have really broadened. Regardless of whatever I end up doing, I hope it is something that allows me to use my skills and abilities to help better the lives of the people of Aotearoa.”

In 2023, MILG will see the third wave of rangatahi interns join their team. They’re excited to grow their capacity internally and in turn, expanding their capability to serve the needs and aspirations of our ākonga, whānau, hapū and iwi.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 9:30 am, 2 February 2023

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