Good Practices

Ngā Pūmanawa Tūpuna

Ngā Pūmanawa Tūpuna students visiting a significant Wāhi Tapu, Māori landmark with former NPT Kaiārahi and local Joe Nuku at Whakataki, Castlepoint in 2020. Students were inspired by local stories, made whakapapa connections and encouraged by the journeys of our tūpuna to encourage them on their journey of discovery and learning.

Ngā Pūmanawa Tūpuna (NPT) is a He Poutama Rangatahi funded programme operating under the umbrella of Wairarapa REAP. It is a work-readiness programme targeting the development of the essential Youth Employability Programme (YEP) soft-skills and habits necessary for success in the world of work (and in many ways, in life).

NPT Kaiārahi/Lead Educator Maria Tanoa says the YEP – ‘Licence to Work’ (LTW) programme started in 2019 to ensure rangatahi were work ready because employers, iwi, schools and the community were calling out for it. She says a key part of the programme has a focus on developing ‘soft-skills’, which NPT call ‘smart-skills’, such as communication, teamwork, positive attitude, thinking skills, resilience, willingness to learn and self-management.

Over the course of a year, two 20 week programmes are offered with up to 60 young people. Currently, in addition to existing rangatahi enrolments, NPT is working with

10 Alternative Education from one of Wairarapa’s Colleges in a revised shortened NPT programme of 10 weeks. Overall, since its inception, approximately 120 students have participated in NPT. Students are referred to NPT through their school or community.

Another key aspect of the programme is ensuring alignment with kaupapa Maori including a delivery and content that suits the developmental and situational needs of each rangatahi.

“Ngā Pūmanawa Tūpuna means to embrace the skills and talents of our ancestors,” says Maria. “It’s really getting [rangatahi] looking at ‘what blood runs through my veins, what skills, talents and values, if I look back on my ancestry that I can pull on and use it as a guiding principal going forward’. We work holistically to link it in so it becomes more real and closer to home for them. So we do it a little bit differently, modify and adapt rather than just doing the modules alone.”

The Importance of NPT having a kaupapa Maori focus is honouring the two local iwi. Maria says instead of starting immediately with the LTW modules they also spend time connecting with their rangatahi which includes:

  • developing a sense of whanaungatanga
  • finding out their whakapapa
  • connecting with their families
  • discussing and developing tikanga

– ensuring that everything links in and aligns with the programme and the ‘soft skills’ that NPT will be teaching.

On the programme rangatahi are involved with Community Enrichment volunteer work and as a part of this they may visit the local marae where they participate in maintaining the various whare and its surroundings, fixing things, painting and mowing the lawns. They also volunteer in the community such as in local rugby clubs, along with painting community fences, fruit picking and even singing at local rest-homes. Part of this also includes talking to kaumātua on the marae and listening to local stories, where Maria says some students discover family connections.

NPT has had success connecting organically with small businesses in the area so rangatahi can participate in work experience. Maria says the students have gained experience working in industries such as, beauty, building, plumbing, farming, honey making, local infrastructure and has also organised visits with the local logging company, bread and bacon factory and Powershop. Many of the students have gone on to part or full-time work, further study or training and a number have secured apprenticeships.

“Our rangatahi need this, our rangatahi deserve this, our community needs this, and I think this programme is making a crucial difference one rangatahi at a time, which represents a family, which represents a whole community,” says Maria.

Written by Rebecca Toms.