Te Pūkenga network is unifying in its approach to supporting its learners to succeed in what remains a challenging
By 1 January 2023, Te Pūkenga will be responsible for approximately a quarter of a million ākonga (learners) across
Aotearoa as Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics, and industry training organisations, come together. Ahead of this
date, with an eye to helping lessen the impact of COVID-19, Te Pūkenga has already been working across its network of
subsidiaries to better support the wellbeing of its future learners.
Te Pūkenga Deputy Chief Executive Learner Journey and Experience Tania Winslade says that the organisation is dedicated
to putting learners with their whānau at the centre of everything it does and that this means taking a holistic approach
to hauora (wellbeing) as part of vocational learning.
"Supporting learner wellbeing is a key focus across our network. Learners have told us that we need to do better to
support them and we’re responding to that call to action. Our network is producing local action plans to identify and
enable operational practices that ensure learners have what they need to be successful, especially in our current
COVID-19 environment," Ms Winslade says.
Between July 2021 and March of this year, Te Pūkenga network distributed $5.64 million to learners experiencing hardship
due to COVID-19. These funds provided support towards housing costs, food, utilities, transport and healthcare, as well
as technology access so learners could continue studying.
"COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted some learner cohorts, so we’ve taken an approach that has placed a particular
focus on the support needs of ākonga Māori as Te Tiriti partners, and ākonga from Pacific and disabled communities," she
Te Pūkenga has heard from learners that the organisation needs to do better in the area of mental health services, with
19 percent of Te Pūkenga ākonga having accessed mental health support at some point in their lives. Te Pūkenga partnered
with the Ministry of Health to invest $3.24 million to deliver new and enhanced mental health and addiction services
that could potentially be accessed by more than 160,000 learners across all sixteen Institutes of Technology and
From this funding, $2.43 million was distributed for new and enhanced services available via 16 Institutes of Technology
and Polytechnics. The funding provides greater opportunity for Māori and Pacific learners to access services that are
tailored and fit for purpose. Māori and Pacific learners experience greater inequities in mental health and wellbeing
than other communities and this funding will help to address this long-standing gap.
In addition, new national services will be established shortly, utilising the remaining funding which will increase
Kaupapa Māori and Kaupapa Pacific wānanga across the motu. In planning for services at each subsidiary, Te Pūkenga was
required to listen to learners and so their voice directly informed the service plans that each subsidiary submitted to
"It’s really important that ākonga feel safe, welcome and comfortable when they’re accessing services. If we can provide
those in ways that support their identity, that makes a real difference to them and their wellbeing," Ms Winslade says.
More information is available on the attached factsheets.
For more information contact Ashleigh Muir
Communications and Engagement Manager
Tel: +64 (0)21 907 538