Hare Rua is the principal of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae, a school which offers full immersion in te reo Māori for its students from kōhanga reo until the end of high school. 2023 marked the start of a careers orientation and work experience programme between the kura and Britomart, where students got to visit and experience workplaces including EY, Westpac, The Hotel Britomart, Monk Mackenzie Architects, Café Hanoi and more. Here, Hare speaks to Jeremy Hansen about the benefits of the programme for the students and the organisations that host them. 

JEREMY HANSEN Hare, I wanted to start by asking you not about the benefit of this programme for the students, but for the organisations that host them – because work experience can often be seen as a one-way thing, where a business is doing a favour for a student. That’s not necessarily the case, right?

HARE RUA It goes both ways. Whoever’s going to end up employing the calibre of tamariki that we are seeing here – not just at Hoani Waititi but other kura as well –  I think it’s going to be really, really rich for those organisations. But this is also just the beginning of the relationship with Britomart and the different organisations who are participating in the scheme: All of them are going to have a major input into the future of our iwi and the tamariki of today. These doors weren’t always open to our people. The fact that they are opening now is giving us the opportunity to build capability within the younger generations, who in time will be the leaders within our iwi Māori. They have a lot to contribute to our people. They have such a strong base of te reo, of tikanga, of self-knowledge. They can connect into iwi, into their own whānau easily because of their own grounding within kura kaupapa Māori. Having this guidance from the different organisations at Britomart is only going to be enriching for our tamariki.

JEREMY What does a good outcome from a programme like this look like to you?

HARE The intent is that the Year 12s and the Year 13s are on internships in different places. It’s about opening their eyes to it and them thinking, ‘I wouldn’t mind giving that a try’. Because that’s the intent of the internship, for them to feel and be a part of a workplace so they can come away and say, ‘That’s what I want to do,’ or ‘Let me think about that a bit more’. If they’ve tried it and definitely don’t want to do it as a career, that’s fine too. 

JEREMY Given that your tauira already achieve really well in their NCEA’s, why do you think there’s a benefit from a careers orientation programme like the one we’re all establishing together at Britomart?

Our NCEA data is really high, but there’s always more that we can do to progress the direction or the journey for our tamariki. We always need to dial in on what’s best for our mokopuna, for our kids. We’re aware that whatever’s required in the school doesn’t really prepare our tauira for a lot of what lies beyond. So we need something to pathway our tamariki – and this programme is part of that. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but it gives them all a better chance to choose the direction they want to go in. Once they’ve been in these organisations, our other tamariki can see those businesses as places for them too.

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