Ko te manu e kai ana te miro nona te ngahere, ko te manu e kai ana te mātauranga nona te ao – the forest belongs to the bird who feasts on the miro berry, the world belongs to the bird who feasts on education”.
For rangatahi to feast on education we need to ensure the food chain works for us. In its current state, the majority of us are receiving the crumbs and that’s not good enough. We deserve more, we deserve better.
Our rangatahi population is the fastest growing and will soon become the majority of the workforce. This means two things:
1. The workforce must be ready to accept our rangatahi
2. Rangatahi need to be ready to enter the workforce.
To ensure this, it requires a change within the education system and support systems for us. We need support so that we can succeed, so that we have access to the tools that we need to do so, and so that we are supported to be and do better for ourselves.
So why does the workforce need to be ready for our rangatahi Māori?
For a large majority of us, we work in spaces where we feel like the ‘token Māori’ that employers have hired so they can tick their diversity checkbox off. And it’s really annoying. This is a common thread I’ve heard in the work I’ve done for Tokona Te Raki.
In terms of the education system, it is a reality for many rangatahi to be in the lower classes, or packed into the physical education classes and ending up achieving unit standard credits. Judged at 13, their trajectory is set on a course where university entrance is not on their path. They are only made aware through a visit to the course advisor, where they are advised to lower their gaze, aiming for the stars but having their wings clipped.
We wish for more and we deserve more. If we are the leaders of tomorrow we must be empowered to break the barriers of today and equipped with the tools to succeed, and for this to happen some structures need to fall. It won’t happen overnight but our march towards this goal will continue, our search for the basket of knowledge will be resolute.
Ko te manu e kai ana te miro nona te ngahere, ko te manu e kai ana te mātauranga nona te ao.