Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson congratulated nine students who graduated from the Tauira Kaitiaki Taiao-Māori Cadetship Programme today.
Ms Wilkinson, the Māori King, Kīngi Tūheitia and Paramount Chief of Ngati Tūwharetoa Sir Tumu Te Heuheu attended the students’ graduation at Waikato Tainui College for Research and Development in Ngaruawahia.
Each graduate received the National Certificate in Conservation, the Trainee Ranger Certificate from Nelson/Marlborough Institute of Technology and a Certificate in Tikanga Maori from Te Wananga o Aotearoa.
“These students worked hard to achieve their goals. Their new skills and knowledge will help protect our conservation assets,” Ms Wilkinson says.
“I congratulate them all on their achievement.”
Under the Tauira Kaitiaki Taiao programme, young Maori build conservation field skills, knowledge of tikanga Maori and to build Maori capability in conservation management.
The 21-month course is funded by the Department of Conservation in partnership with Nga Whenua Rāhui, a programme started in 1991 to provide funding for the protection of indigenous ecosystems on Maori land.
The students learn NZQA accredited training in ecology, fire fighting techniques, boat handling skills, species monitoring, radio communication training and the use of 4WD vehicles.
Five of the graduates are now employed by DOC and four by the Nga Whenua Rahui.