Collaboration for Cultural Competency a Success

May 29, 2023
May 29, 2023

Northpower has teamed up with NorthTec | Te Pūkenga to provide cultural connection to their newest cohort of cadets.

Northpower has fourteen new cadets who have begun their training, working towards a trade role in either line mechanics, arboriculture, or electrical maintenance. The cadetship is an 8-week programme that will then transition the new employees into a 2-year apprenticeship in their chosen trade.

As part of the cadetship, Northpower has teamed up with NorthTec to pilot a cultural connection initiative for cadets. On Monday 22nd May, all fourteen cadets attended a nōho (overnight) marae visit at NorthTec’s marae, Te Puna O Te Mātauranga, designed to help them connect with the local community, culture, and land.

“All of these cadets will go on to serve the community in the Whangārei area,” says Mackenzie Ashby, Capability Manager – Northpower. “We want to make sure we are covering the connection to Te Tai Tokerau and mana whenua within their cadetship. It’s about developing connections within the community and gaining an understanding of the culture.”

Cadets were welcomed onto the marae by NorthTec’s Te Puna team through Pōwhiri.

“For some cadets, this will be their first Pōwhiri experience and their first time on a marae,” explains Mackenzie. “It’s a unique experience and it’s great that they can be here in a safe space. It also allows us to develop and maintain our connection with NorthTec | Te Pūkenga.”

Once on the marae, the manuhiri (visitors) were treated to a delicious dinner before cleaning up and setting out bedding for the night. Then the real work began. Short wānanga on whakawhanaungatanga, marae tikanga, group work, and mahi-a-ringaringa were interspersed with waiata. All of this was facilitated by NorthTec’s Te Puna team.

“The importance of this cultural experience for the Northpower cadets begins at the Marae with hearing te reo Māori spoken in the speeches of welcome, and participation in the karakia and singing waiata,” says Matua Taipari Munroe, Te Amorangi – NorthTec. “There was the experience of communal living and working collaboratively as a team.”

Breakfast was a joint effort the next day before the cadets were off to explore the area and connect with culturally significant locations across Tai Tokerau.

“The venture out into the field took the cadets to places of cultural significance, places many of them would have already been familiar with, the difference now being Te Puna has shared that view through a Māori lens with the aid of tribal narratives,” said Matua Taipari.

“We have been operating in the area for ninety-two years,” says Andrew Mcleod, Northpower CEO. “We have deep roots in the area and value our continued connection to Te Tai Tokerau. It’s fantastic that our cadets have this opportunity. We are grateful for the fact that we can employ local people to work in the area.”

Jeff Wilson, Operational Lead for NorthTec | Te Pūkenga, said the partnership with Northpower was an excellent example of working with industry to increase capability and enhance cultural competence within the local workforce. He said: “Collaborating with partner organisations in Te Tai Tokerau supports economic development in our region and drives sustainable educational opportunities which are inclusive of a Māori world view.”

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