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Ed Sheeran

Skills deficit identified from urban migration

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A leading economist has identified a lack of skills training as a factor that made Maori urbanisation more difficult than it needed to be.

Brian Easton was commissioned by West Auckland urban Maori authority Te Whanau o Waipareira to write Heke Tangata, an overview of Maori in the economy, as a companion to the recently published Urban Maori: The Second Great Migration.

He says the collapse of the wool price after the end of the Korean War in the 1950s meant rural areas could not sustain as many people, but the skills Maori had developed in that setting were not suited for city work.

Many ended up with low skill positions, which became multi-generational as no effort was made to address the education gap of their children compared with their Pakeha contemporaries.

He says while there are increasing numbers of Maori in tertiary study, too many Maori are still trapped in a cycle of deprivation that only education and training can break.

"A lot of the trouble is we have too many Maori who are not skilled enough, not skilled enough now days to even build a house. I'm not skilled enough to build a house but here we have got this enormous housing shortage and we are bringing in people to build them. We shouldn't be. We should be training Maori and Pakeha to build our houses," Mr Easton says.

Heke Tangata was launched at Parliament this morning by Employment and Associate Maori Affairs Minister Willie Jackson.

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