SIT collaboration strengthens ties with Maori community

(From left) Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) general manager of Maori development Keri Milne-Ihimaera, Murihiku Regeneration Programme leader Ivan Hodgetts, SIT Board chair Alison Broad, Murihiku Regeneration upoko Michael Skerrett, SIT chief executive Onno Mulder and Murihiku Regeneration programme director Terry Nicholas. Photo: SIT

SOUTHERN Institute of Technology (SIT) recently signed a formal Collaboration Agreement with Murihiku Regeneration, with the goal of making stronger connections with its Maori community in Southland.

The Collaboration Agreement, signed in January, is the culmination of a series of discussions during the past year between SIT management, led by general manager of Maori development Dr Keri Milne-Ihimaera and Murihiku Regeneration upoko Michael Skerrett.

SIT and Murihiku Regeneration have agreed to work collaboratively to plan, design and implement programmes to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes, focusing on the three areas:

To explore secondary tertiary partnership opportunities to ensure a smoother transition for Maori youth into SIT programmes;

To assist SIT to link with the four papatipu runanga/ancestral land guardians, to work collaboratively to include more local Maori knowledge in SIT programmes and delivery;

To align programmes to local industry need and innovation, in order to develop effective learner pathways.

Dr Milne-Ihimaera said SIT was keen to develop stronger relationships with its Maori community and the agreement was one way of demonstrating that commitment.

Established to work closely and collaboratively with the crown, and be a voice in the Treaty partnership, Murihiku Regeneration’s function was a clear, coherent plan for a prosperous Southland

SIT chief executive Onno Mulder was “delighted” with the collaboration. “We look forward to working together to improve Maori participation in vocational education at SIT, as well as improving learning experiences and course completion rates. Currently, 14% of SIT total learners identify as being Maori.”

The collaboration will also help drive a greater involvement of local Maori knowledge in SIT programme development and delivery.

“Progress to date, has been the creation of the Maori Development GM position, the signing of this agreement, and the employment of key staff to focus on the outcomes of the agreement,” Mr Mulder said.