It was an honour to witness the graduation ceremony of 50 rangatahi who have completed the Vertical Horizonz - Pae Aronui programme, funded by Te Puni KÅkiri (TPK).
The day was attended by Hon Willie Jackson and opened with a Pohiri inclusive of a wero at Paarawera marae.
Following the Pohiri, the Minister, staff from Te Puni Kokiri, Vertical Horizonz SLT, other invited guests and whanau of youth were able to witness the rangatahi receiving their graduation certificates of achievement, handed to them by Minister Jackson.
The rangatahi, who originally trained in three separate cohorts; Wellington, Auckland and Hamilton, came together for 5 days at Paarawera marae for their final stage of learning.
The rangatahi honoured guests with a powerful haka, which they developed with support from kaimahi on the course. Many rangatahi had not practiced kapahaka prior to the programme, to see them come together and perform so beautifully was a moving experience for guests.
The rangatahi leave the Vertical Horizonz Pae Aronui programme equipped with NZQA Unit Standards in First Aid, SiteSafe, Hazard ID, Working at Height, Elevated Work Platforms. Forklift and Confined Spaces, along with learnings in CV writing, budgeting, leadership and employee obligations.
The aim of the programme was to upskill rangatahi for work whilst supporting them in an environment entrenched in tÄ«kanga MÄori. To do this, the programme was delivered via noho marae – (staying on marae) for all cohorts.
This graduation has given the rangatahi an opportunity to celebrate their achievements together, make new friends who they now call whanau, a sense of pride in being MÄori, through a unique learning environment and experiences in Te Ao MÄori - the MÄori World, and motivation to gain employment.
For the next nine months the rangatahi will be supported into employment or further education and Vertical Horizonz have also provided a 3 month period of Open Learning courses at no cost to them.
Rangatahi will have a second graduation ceremony in their hometowns so whanau and friends can share in their successes.