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Ōtorohanga Mayor to welcome ākonga to Wintec’s first Certificate in Health and Wellbeing in the region

This week marks an exciting milestone for the Ōtorohanga and King Country communities as Wintec delivers its New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing qualification for the first time at its regional hub in Maniapoto Street, Ōtorohanga.

Mayor of Ōtorohanga, Max Baxter, who will be addressing the first cohort of ākonga (students) on their opening day of the course said, “it is fantastic that Wintec has chosen Ōtorohanga as a campus to provide the opportunity for people in our district to study for a New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing.”

The Certificate in Health and Wellbeing is a one year Level 4 qualification that Wintec has been delivering through its Hamilton City campus for many years. It is a foundational course providing students with the core knowledge and skills to work as a support worker in social service organisations supporting the elderly, youth or those with mental health and addictions.

However, importantly, it is also a stepping-stone for students to pathway onto higher study, with graduates sometimes going on to enrol in degree-level social work and counselling programmes.

With local Ōtorohanga and King Country community organisations struggling to find qualified support workers and registered health professionals, the opportunity to start growing these essential skills from within is welcomed by the local community.

Mayor Baxter says, “there has never been a greater need than now in Aotearoa for support in health and wellbeing and Ōtorohanga is no exception. I applaud the participating students for venturing down the pathway to support and care for those in need within our community.”

Wintec has provided training opportunities in the region since the 1990’s and is excited to be able to work alongside Ngāti Maniapoto Marae Pact Trust and other organisations in the rohe, to now bring the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing.

The idea to bring the course to the Ōtorohanga campus was initially floated by Wintec leadership. From there it was all about community connection and relationships including Wintec Academic Staff Member, Bill Shaw, reaching out to Mayor Max Baxter, who got behind the programme. 

The seeds were sown to start working on delivering the course locally. 

To Shaw, who will be delivering the programme, this project has been a bit of a personal mission, “there's a big need in these areas and because my background is in social services, it's sort of part of my DNA to try and build communities up.”

With 12 enrolments to date, the team are expecting to start the course with around 15 ākonga, which is a good turnout for a small rural community. “We have had interest from Te Kuiti, Taumaranui and Kawhia, so it is fantastic to make this course more accessible to these communities, who would otherwise have to travel to Hamilton. We are also pleased to see the majority of ākonga enrolled are Māori and mana whenua of the region”, says Shaw. 

This cohort is also quite unique in that almost half of the ākonga are already working in social services, with a number of them employed by Ngāti Maniapoto Marae PACT Trust, something Shaw acknowledges highlights the Trust’s commitment to upskilling their staff.

Shaw also points out that it’s not too late to enrol, “If you are interested in joining this year’s class, please contact We would be delighted to grow this year’s cohort and support even more people from the region to gain the foundation knowledge, skills, and practical experience required to work alongside individuals, families, and whānau accessing social and community services.  

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