A conservation-focused pilot programme in Te Tauihu aimed at arming rangatahi with skills related to Te Taiao has been given the green light to continue.
A partnership between Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and the Department of Conservation (DOC), the Kaitiaki Whenua Trainee Ranger programme was this year extended to include a new delivery model aimed at Māori youth. Called Project Moturoa, each iwi in the region was invited to nominate rangatahi to participate in the programme as a way of building capacity in the environmental space.
For Justin Starkey, who has been supported by Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Project Moturoa has sparked a new direction in life.
“I’ve definitely gained a deeper connection to and knowledge of Te Taiao,” says Justin. “We’ve covered so many areas, from rongoa to weed management, pest management, building paths and structures, understanding more about site-specific eco-systems.
“What has been really good is that there has been a wide variety of tutors brought in who are experts in their field. That keeps it fresh but also means we are learning from the best.”
Some highlights for Justin, who is pictured above with course co-ordinator Pene Geiger, of DOC, have been the opportunity to learn about rongoa, understanding more about specific iwi in the region and getting the chance to go deeper into those stories at noho marae.
With six weeks left to go, the focus is now on finding a related job or other opportunities to train and learn more. Whichever way it goes, Justin says it’s been a rewarding 10 months and he encourages other rangatahi to give it a go.
“You learn so much, and you’re also getting the opportunity to be out in about in the outdoors and immersed in Te Taiao and mātauranga Māori. All you really need is to be fit and keen to learn.”
We are looking for suitable candidates for next year’s Project Moturoa intake. If you or any of your whānau, aged 18 to 24, are interested in hearing more, please get in touch with the office by calling 0800 578 900 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org