A former rugby league star says incorporating Maoritanga into learning is the key to bring down the burgeoning Maori unemployment rate.
David Lomax is heading the Tamaiti Whangai Academy at the Wellington Institute of Technology, which offers mentoring to Maori trades students completing a 34 week certificate.
Eighty-five percent of the 130-strong intake graduated this month, and five have already been employed in Wellington.
It doesn't reflect the 2% rise in Maori unemployment in the past three months, to 15%.
Mr Lomax says providing cultural support and making students feel comfortable with their Maoritanga encourages them to work hard.
He says more construction jobs will be up for grabs with rebuilding in Christchurch, and Wellington earthquake strengthening.