Oho Mauri – A pathway to success for rangatahi

I was pleased to join Waikato-Tainui, Vertical Horizons; Driving Success; First Credit Union; Or Consulting; Wai Mauri and Schick Engineering and members of the local community for the launch of a rangatahi training initiative in the Waikato District – Oho Mauri.

It’s the brainchild of founding director Lizana Tauke who developed the model when working for Genesis Energy. She has been joined by fellow director Leah Crawford to refine the model and

Existing services are not working for rangatahi Māori the NEET (not engaged in education or training) rates are persistently higher than the general population.
What we know is that in 2018, the number of rangatahi Māori that were classified NEET was 30,498 – double the NEET rate of the general population.  Rangatahi Māori are also over-represented in low skilled industries. Only 33.8% of Māori school-leavers achieved NCEA Level 3 or above (compared with 54.3% of non-Māori). Astonishingly 50% of Māori school leavers in 2015 are not enrolled in tertiary education, compared with 39% of Pākehā.

In my mind we need to ensure that the primary statistic motivating a different way of doing things is the potential of every young person!

Oho Mauri Work Ready Programme:
Education and skills training for our rangatahi is a critical step to help set them up for working life and beyond.  This can be created by giving youth the skills and education through practical engagement with practitioners who are experts in the field, and not just be an add-on for teachers.  As such the collaboration between local businesses, education and training providers and youth is the key ingredient to building successful outcomes for all involved.
By taking a collective approach to address these issues it minimises risk to business when taking on potential employees. This helps youth, whānau and community aspirations by providing local solutions to youth employment and breaking the cycle.
The Oho Mauri programme is designed to help youth awaken and realise their potential (hence the name Oho Mauri) and attain their career aspirations beyond once leaving school.  The programme is about preparing youth holistically with both skills and experience to leave school with confidence to go on with the next step in their lives.
Oho Mauri will cover six key elements including Health and Safety and Hazard ID awareness, driver licensing, cultural identity, strength character building, work readiness, soft skills and financial awareness.
The programme will be delivered at schools over 10 weeks (school term periods) one day a week.  The five Waikato kura who are part of this new initiative are Te Wharekura o Rākaumangamanga; Huntly College; Ngaruawahia High School; NgāTaiātea Wharekura and Tai Wānanga.
The Oho Mauri programme segues rangatahi in to work experience and five schools are rolling out the programme next term.  This approach will allow students to be exposed to hands-on learning and to appreciate the workplace culture and environment.

Income is a key driver of wellbeing. Māori, on average, receive 20% less income than non-Māori each week. Research undertaken by Treasury shows that the key drivers of the income gap between Māori and Pākehā are education and occupation/employment status.
The education system is a key lever to improve the employment outcomes for Māori. However, given the number of rangatahi who have left the compulsory education system and are experiencing poor outcomes, wider support services are required.

Oho Mauri reaches out to young people, the school communities, Whanau and business to create pathways and opportunities so rangatahi Māori can secure training and potentially a job and career pathway. When asked what advice would she give employers working alongside the oho mauri team her response was simple “make them work hard ’cause they don’t know what they good at until they’re pushed to try” – I’m so proud this initiative grew from efforts within my hometown of Rāhui Pōkeka – Huntly.



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