Empowering Maori youth to grow the region's prosperity is a key focus of a new collaboration.
Education and skills will form the approach between the Bay of Plenty's Tertiary Intentions Strategy, Bay of Connections, and He Mauri Ohooho, the region's Maori economic development plan.
Strategy lead Greg Simmonds said by 2050, a market economist recently forecasted there would be 40,000 new jobs created across the Bay of Plenty, with much of the job growth in higher skilled roles.
He said to drive Bay of Plenty's GDP growth and build a strong economy, it was essential to mobilise young Maori into pathways that would lead them to these higher skilled job opportunities.
"We know increasing Maori youth household incomes will provide enhanced standards of living and help strengthen families; while also driving our region's growth and enabling us to enjoy a strong and resilient economy," he said.
He Mauri Ohooho chairwoman, Dr Riri Ellis, said the region had a significant Maori youth population under 15.
"Seventy-five percent of the region's Maori population are under 15. We need a strategy that grows both our people and our region. We need to connect them with higher skilled job opportunities as they start opening up," said Dr Ellis.
The Bay of Plenty's Tertiary Intentions Strategy and He Mauri Ohooho partners have successfully secured funding for a resource to advance He Rangatahi, He Anamata - a call to action that encourages collaboration across the Bay's industry, education sector and Maori organisations to improve skill and income levels for Maori youth.
The Kaihautu Ohanga Maori (Bay of Plenty Maori Economic Development Navigator), has been funded in partnership between Bay of Connections, the region-wide economic development strategy, Te Puni Kokiri and Priority One.
He Mauri Ohooho co-lead, Te Horipo Karaitiana said the new position would enable better co-ordination of regional initiatives and help ensure successful outcomes for Maori youth.
Two education and skills examples to improve higher skilled job opportunities for Maori youth have also been developed, the Kiwi Leaders programme, run by Te Awanui Huka Pak and Priority One's Instep with Maori plan.
Mr Karaitiana said Kiwi Leaders provided on the job mentoring, training and professional development onto senior roles; while Instep with Maori has developed a successful leadership development program for secondary schools.
He said He Mauri Ohooho had spent the last two years canvassing key investment opportunities and developing some sector activities that will lead to both new job creation and regional growth around Maori land utilisation, horticulture and water.