Safety first: E tū’s leadership programme for Māori, Pasefika and migrant workers takes off

Getting into the training

Who benefits when workers share their knowledge about health and safety?

“Everyone!” says Lusia Petelo, a delegate who attended E tū’s new health and safety worker leadership programme.

July marked the end of six successful hui for E tū’s ACC-sponsored programme, Ngā Puna Whai Oranga, where more than 150 member leaders came together in cities and regions around the country.

The hui explored concepts of leadership in different cultures, and how these can be applied at work to improve health and safety on the job for workers.

It focused on workers from Māori, Pasifika or migrant backgrounds in the manufacturing sector, where injury rates are high.

Delegate Teik Lomi says it can be hard to speak out in the workplace about health and safety.

“We try to secure that job, we try to be permanent. We can’t speak up, otherwise we’re scared of being sacked or of getting into trouble.”

A successful final hui in July

Research shows that injury claims for Māori and Pasifika are higher than for other groups.

AUT’s Workplace Safety and the Future of Work report finds that Māori workers are 18% more likely and Pasifika workers 12% more likely to have to make an injury claim than European workers.

Teik says the hui covered a lot in just a day: “WorkSafe explained everything to us – about the legislation, how to keep yourself safe. We learnt about what you do in the workplace and about your rights.”

Speakers came from WorkSafe’s Māori unit, Maruiti, the Pasifika Puataunofo programme, and from the migrant group, Migrante.

Icebreaker fun

There were also lots of laughs with group activities, including a game of rugby with a water bottle to illustrate what leadership can be.

The next steps for Ngā Puna Whai Oranga will be ongoing workshops at work – both for members and leaders who attend the hui.

“When we share what we know, everyone in the workplace becomes more aware of how we look after ourselves,” Member Lusia Petelo says.

“The result of that is that you get to go home in one piece to your family and your loved ones.”

Go to to learn more.

Doing the mahi