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Nearly 100 staff and community members joined the NorthTec Regional Kōrero in Whangarei this week, with many connecting remotely from Kaitaia, Kaikohe and Auckland to hear the latest news from the IST Establishment Unit. This was one of the last hui in a series of Regional Kōrero that started on January 30.

A small team of IST Establishment Unit staff have been visiting 16 locations around the country, hosted by Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics with invitations extended to Industry Training Organisations, employers and communities. The kaupapa has been to give an update on how the Unit is progressing on its many workstreams, as well as discussing the name and brand video before wider consultation starts today.

Deputy Executive Director Alex Cabrera talked about the Unit’s work in recent months, what is still expected to happen before the end of March and, most importantly for providers and community, gave an overview of what 1 April and beyond would look like for learners, staff, and vocational training providers.

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An in-depth Question & Answer session covered a range of areas with community members vocalising the need to create and maintain strong partnership with iwi, hāpu and Māori communities to underpin strong support for Māori learners and communities and work towards equitable outcomes across all learner groups. Also highlighed was the role of industry in NZIST and wider RoVE programme and the need to build relevant and effective partnership between providers and employers that speak to regional needs. The session had a strong emphasis on building the mana and capability of Te Tai Tokerau rohe and investing in staff professional development and capabilities to better deliver for learners, the region, and New Zealand as a whole.

NorthTec Project Manager Hayley Semenoff said “The session was worthwhile. It gave our staff the opportunity to ask questions on areas they are passionate about or where they have expertise. It was clear that the Unit is working on targeted ākonga (learner) centric change to produce better outcomes and improved understanding and links with industry requirements.”

Alex re-emphasised the Establishment Unit and Board’s ongoing commitment to upholding the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. With support from Anaru Mill, the Board is developing a framework to ensure this commitment is put into practice and not just talked about.

After the hui, NorthTec staff hosted Establishment Unit staff on a quick visit to Waitangi to experience a little of the rich local history in the region.

NorthTec Director of Transition Phil Alexander-Crawford said, “The hui and our subsequent hīkoi to Waitangi started breathing life into the Charter.”

Other Establishment Unit hui this week included Tauranga at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Napier at Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), Auckland at Unitec Institute of Technology and Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT), Hamilton at Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec).

The Regional Kōrero series finishes today with parallel sessions in Greymouth at Tai Poutini Polytechnic and Nelson at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. Public consultation on the preferred name will be open shortly after the end of today’s hui until 8 March. After that time the IST Establishment Board will consider public feedback before finalising their recommendation to Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

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