8 May 2019


Careerforce, Access Community Health, Idea Services, and Oceania Healthcare recently celebrated the signing of Te Tiriti o te Whanaungatanga.

The whakapapa, or genesis, for te Tiriti came from a series of Māori workforce development hui across 2018. These hui acknowledged decreasing success rates amongst Māori trainees, and identified that traditional approaches to improving trainee performance and outcomes were unlikely to work.

“What became very evident was the lack of confidence and sense of connection amongst many trainees, and that a whanaungatanga approach could be very beneficial” said Gill Genet, General Manager for Business Development at Careerforce.

The parties to te Tiriti came together for the first time in September 2018, and after a series of workshops and staff surveys, came up with the principles that form the basis of Te Tiriti o Whanaungatanga. Key participants included Sue Coulter, Oceania Healthcare HR Manager; Janine Gera, Access Community Health National Manager – Learning & Development; Trish Brosnan – IDEA Services Learning and Development Manager; Jeff Brewster, IDEA Services Learning and Development Qualifications Advisor; and Turaukawa Bartlett, Kaiwhakahononga – Careerforce Māori Engagement and Development.

Whanaungatanga in this context refers to the ritual of making connections, and at its core, one of the principles of the whanaungatanga approach is the importance of a hui, or group learning approach.

For Coulter from Oceania Healthcare, “it’s about supporting our Māori trainees, many of whom had a fear of asking questions or to ask for help, or in writing to explain what they really do in their job every day. The whanaungatanga approach allows them to ask questions and share learnings, all in a safe environment. For some employees that have been with us for 5 years, they have completed an assessment for the first time, and it is building their confidence and creating a better training culture. We’ve immediately seen a difference.”

Access Community Health held their first hui with Māori trainees in March. Janine Gera commented that “it was an amazing afternoon filled with insight, hope and energy! We had the wisdom of the experienced, the knowledge of the learned, the hopes of the new and support from faculty all in one room. I am really excited to see how the team progresses over the next 6 months and am confident that we are going to see huge success from this initiative.”

Like the other providers, Trish Brosnan from IDEA Services recognised the need to support their Māori trainees and to this end, has asked Te Anga Pāua o Aotearoa – IDEA Services Māori Advisory Group to support the work being done here.

Genet from Careerforce acknowledged the pioneering will and generosity of Access, IDEA Services and Oceania to be involved, and that this had created a catalyst for others to want to be involved. “It’s early days, but early signs were promising – I’m passionate that if we can make a difference to the workforce, we can make a real difference to Aotearoa.”