Whyora is an employment pathways programme targeted at Māori students in the Taranaki region. This initiative is a partnership between Te Whare Punanga Kōrero Trust (a collection of 8 local iwi), the Taranaki District Health Board, and the Ministry of Social Development.
Māori are under-represented in the health and disability workforce in almost every specialist area and Whyora’s vision is to ensure Taranaki has “a competent, skilled Māori health and disability workforce, equal in proportion to its population, who can provide culturally appropriate services”.
Since their programme was initiated the number of Māori working in the health and disability sector in Taranaki has increased from 6% to 9.3%. The programme works with Māori students in years 9 and 10 (380 students across 13 secondary schools).
Although the initiative has seen a large shift in young Māori taking up health-related education pathways and employment, not all of their students aspire to work in the health sector. Whyora wanted to broaden their focus beyond health, and are currently exploring how their model can include other workforce areas such as Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry and Seafood and this is what Todd Foundation funding in 2019 was able to support.