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Source: NorthTec

NorthTec’s Māori Enterprise papers, which launched in 2021, enter their second year on offer at the Tai Tokerau based polytechnic and are changing the way students learn with a manaakitanga approach to learning.

“What I really liked is that the delivery was Māori centered, by a Māori person, talking about Māori philosophies and working together as a whānau for everyone to move forward,” says Tāniora Maxwell, a graduate of the Graduate Diploma in Māori Enterprise. “It’s not a focus on individual gain. It’s a difference in philosophy.”

The Māori Enterprise papers, which make up the bulk of a Graduate Diploma in Māori Enterprise, can also be taken as part of the Māori Enterprise major for a Bachelor of Applied Management. They can also be taken as individual papers to supplement prior learning experience, or as professional development for people in the industry. 

“It’s not just for Māori. Anyone with an interest in Māori Enterprise can benefit from these courses. We had two non-Māori in my cohort,” Tāniora explains. “It’s based around the wānanga style of learning, which really worked for me and is very inclusive for all. The whole focus is on the cohort moving forward together and supporting each other through the learning journey.”

The papers focus on areas such as Kaitiakitanga (guardianship), Governance in Aotearoa, Mātauranga Māori (traditional Māori knowledge), and Māori Enterprise and apply a Māori world view to the business industry. They are aimed at tangata whenua who are or want to be in business, as well as aspiring and current business owners who are interested in Māori enterprise and aren’t of Māori descent.

“The learning environment is very different from your average tertiary classroom,” says Tāniora. “We are encouraged to talk, to share our opinions and then challenge those ideas. We have noho marae (overnight marae stay) and learn in a group setting.”

Mātauranga Māori reframes how people design and carry out business models. These papers focus on how aspects of Mātauranga Māori can help design principle-based solutions throughout the business world especially in regard to businesses environmental and social obligations.

“We are pleased to have bought this specialism to fruition in 2021, and we continue to build this programme in 2022, making the most of incorporating Noho Marae at local Marae and utilising Wānanga korero, that allows all ākonga to share experiences and develop strategies reflecting kaupapa Māori,” says Lisette Buckle, NorthTec’s Pathway Manager for Business. “From undergraduate degree holders looking to demonstrate Māori Enterprise principles, to those who hold senior roles in organisations looking to reflect and incorporate Te Ao Māori into the values of their respective organisations, these specialisms meet the needs of a broad range of learners in our region.”

Tāniora himself is going on to do his PHD at The University of Auckland this year, focusing on repatriation of Taonga Māori. From there, Tāniora hopes to start his own business working in research and consultancy for Kaupapa Māori programmes and business.

Furthermore, Tāniora is known for having his hand in governance, he is currently on a Board and has previous experience in this role.

“If you have the right people on boards, you can guide a lot of change,” says Tāniora. “As iwi we can no longer sit by and let others determine what our path is going to be. We have to be active in our own education. We need to step up and move into those roles of leadership and governance. To move into that space, we need to upskill ourselves. This qualification gives you knowledge and the experience to apply that knowledge in real life settings.”