Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Maori labour in the dairy sector...

Our troubled dairy sector looking to promote careers to Maori...

It's a tough sector, as anyone following the current state of the economy would know.

Mismanagement in NZ's biggest dairy company doesn't help.

But its the potential role of dairy for Maori that is of interest. Tony Finch, Dairy NZ Development Management, accepts that dairying has a negative image for young people: "...and evidence collected in in interviews indicates this is especially true for young Maori."

Mr. Finch then argues "This [perception] is so far from the truth and needs to be changed."

Just a quarter of Maori last longer than four years in the dairy industry compared with 44 per cent of Europeans.

We vote with our feet.

A recent Maori dairy manager visited Lincoln University and spoke on the need for the sector to change its approach to work hours - traditionally long - and conditions. Senior figures who grew up with the old model (share milking until you could buy your own dairy farm, scrub cutting and shearing until you could buy your own sheep farm) have been slow to recognise this no longer applies.

At Lincoln we are training the next generation of Maori in a programme with Ngai Tahu called Whenua Kura.

It still remains to be seen what added value we can contribute to these rangatahi - Lincoln is the only University to not teach Te Reo Maori - and with sustainable farming as distant as it ever was, what can they add to the land...

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Simon Lambert

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