DOC cadets graduate training programmeConservation Maori Affairs
Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson and Minister of Maori Affairs Dr Pita Sharples have welcomed the first graduation of 14 Maori cadets from an intensive conservation training programme that will help the Department of Conservation work closer with iwi.
The students took part in the Tauira Kaitiaki Taiao cadetship programme, working as DOC Rangers for 21 months across a range of projects, after being successfully nominated by local iwi groups.
"These young talented cadets now have a wealth of knowledge and practical experience in both tikanga Maori and conservation work," says Ms Wilkinson.
"DOC wants to continue developing its partnerships with tangata whenua and this programme allows cadets to build on their skills and manage iwi conservation projects in the future, especially those brought about by Treaty Settlements processes."
The project was launched in early 2009 and was funded by the Department of Conservation in partnership with Te Puni Kōkiri and Ngā Whenua Rāhui.
"Our lands, forests and waterways, our natural heritage, are part of the very identity of iwi and hapu," says Dr Sharples.
"Conservation is a high priority for our people, and the Tauira Kaitiaki Taiao cadetship programme helps hapu and iwi take control of their future development."
The practical training the cadets completed included chainsaw use, fire fighting, fencing, first aid, boat masters, computer skills and quad-bike training, all of which were NZQA accredited.
All of the cadets will graduate with a Level 3 National Certificate in Conservation and Trainee Ranger Certificate from the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, as well as a Level 3 Certificate in Tikanga Maori from Te Wananga o Aotearoa.
A graduation ceremony for the cadetship is scheduled for tomorrow and is being hosted by the Chair of the Ngā Whenua Rāhui Komiti Sir Tumu Te Heuheu, at Waitetoko Marae north of Turangi.