About Waihanga Ara Rau

Ko wai mātou

As a Workforce Development Council (WDC), we ensure qualifications align with industry demands and empower Māori business and iwi development. We provide industries and employers with increased leadership and influence in vocational education.

Our success lies in employers, including Māori business owners, trusting that vocational education graduates are job-ready and that the system addresses future industry skills needs.

We boost confidence and outcomes for employers, providers, and learners, ensuring programs are employer-relevant, industry-endorsed, and qualifications meet national standards.

Industries represented by Waihanga Ara Rau

Waihanga Ara Rau supports a diverse range of industries within construction and infrastructure, classified into 11 strategic sectors:

  • Access trades
  • Civil infrastructure
  • Electricity Supply
  • Electrotechnology
  • Finishing trades
  • Gas supply
  • Off site construction
  • On site construction
  • Plumbing, gasfitting, drainlaying
  • Professional services
  • Water services

Waihanga Ara Rau activities and who we work with

We work with industry and employers to understand the skills that are needed. We share this information with education and training providers, who create learning programmes that give people relevant skills to address future workforce needs.

We lead the development of industry qualifications, set industry standards and assess training provision against these industry standards. Where appropriate, we set and help with capstone assessments at the end of a qualification. We help ensure industry standards are applied consistently across the country and all modes of learning, whether on the job, on campus or online.

We also endorse vocational education programmes before NZQA approves them.

As well as engaging with industry and employers, we partner with Regional Skills Leadership Groups, the Tertiary Education Commission, NZ Qualifications Authority, Centres of Vocational Excellence, and providers (Te Pūkenga, Wānanga, and Private Training Establishments). We also engage with the Ministry of Education, advocacy groups, learners, Te Taumata Aronui, government agencies, and schools.

The Waihanga Ara Rau brand

Our logo, a taura whiri (plaited rope), symbolizes unity and strength. It has been used as a metaphor by kaiwhaikōrero (orators) to connect whānau groups through a shared ancestor and acknowledge a leader’s ability to unite people. The taura/rope is made by plaiting aho (strands) made from rolled muka (scraped flax strands), creating a stronger taura (rope) than the aho could on their own.

The green of our brand references the forest’s foliage and relates to Māori culture and the connection between people and nature.  The Ngahere, our forests, were the source of materials needed for construction, particularly trees, such as nikau, for their foliage and ponga and use of timber.

The establishment of Waihanga Ara Rau

Established on 4 October 2021, our WDC resulted from extensive consultation with industry and vocational education sector. WDC Interim Establishment Boards (iEBs) led the process, with industry representatives overseeing WDCs’ legal establishment through Orders in Council (OiC), which outline the name of our WDC, industries represented, governance arrangements and other core aspects.

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