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As a member of a Māori Land Trust, Carol Ashby was keen to find out more about what that actually means.

And the prospect of driving more than 200km to class didn’t put her off.

Carol lives in Auckland but in 2017 the Diploma in Māori Governance & Leadership course at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa was offered only in Rotorua, Te Kuiti and Gisborne.

The 36-week Level 6 programme teaches tauira about issues such as trusteeship and governance, kaitiakitanga, communication, leadership, strategic planning and financial management.

Carol learned so much from the programme, she is now urging other trustees to sign up and upskill themselves.

“I encourage more whānau to do the course and I hope they take it on,” she says.

The programme will benefit all trustees from trusts of any size and type.

“We had eight modules to work through and they covered everything for a trust, large or small.”

The programme also provides valuable insight into different aspects of trust businesses.

“Just knowing how to understand how Māori work in governance and in leadership.  How to deal with the courts and other organisations and negotiating.  Skills like that are really valuable,” she says.

Carol says the supportive learning environment at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and the experience of kaiako Harata Paterson also proved hugely beneficial.

 “I’m a tutor myself at NZMA in Manukau and I found it a really good experience. It certainly delivered what I expected and this experience can also assist in my own teaching,” she says.

And the long trip to class provided unexpected benefits.

“Travelling here to Rotorua was a good experience and gave me the opportunity to meet people from other hapū as well as my own, learn from them, learn how they work and what worked well for them. It was well worth the effort.  I will apply what I learnt, as I didn’t just do this for myself but also for my whānau.”

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