About us

Muka Tangata is the Workforce Development Council (WDC) for the food and fibre sector – we work on ways to enhance vocational education and training to meet industry needs.

We engage with industries and education and training providers, offer skills leadership and advice, work on qualifications, standards, and quality assurance, and we’re keen to explore different ways of working to meet the needs of the food and fibre sector.

We then advise government on what programmes and qualifications they should support and fund.

The establishment of Muka Tangata in October 2020 was part of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE).

The industries we represent

We represent 14 industries including dairy, sheep, beef, deer, pork, poultry, and other livestock farming; arable farming; vegetables and fruit growing; viticulture and winemaking; forestry; seafood; apiculture; equine, dogs and racing; veterinary; nursery, turf and gardening; and food and fibre support industries. 

Read our full list of industries and sub groups here.

What’s different?

The vocational education provision is organised differently now.

The former polytechnics are all now part of Te Pūkenga which, with the former ITOs, brings together on-the-job, on campus, and online vocational education and training through a unified, network of regionally accessible provision.

Private Training Establishments (PTEs), the three Wānanga, and sub-degree level programmes at universities continue to be parts of the NZ vocational education and training system.

The new system also includes:

  • Regional Skills Leadership Groups provide advice about the skills needs of their regions 
  • Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) including the Food and Fibre CoVE, to grow excellent vocational education provision and share high-quality curriculum and programme design across the system.

The former ITOs have until the end of 2022 to transfer their arranging training functions, to Te Pūkenga or another provider, such as a Private Training Establishment (PTE).

Our people

Muka Tangata Council

Chaired by horticulturalist Erin Simpson (Te Atiawa), Muka Tangata has a council of 12 from a wide range of the industries we represent, and a variety of education and leadership roles. Meet our council.

Muka Tangata Senior Leadership

Chief Executive Jeremy Baker leads a team of passionate professionals with extensive experience in the education, training, public and primary sector organisations.  Meet our senior leadership team.

Our Name

Muka Tangata is a metaphor for people woven into the workings of the universe and our place in it.

Through weaving the muka (fibre) of the harakeke (flax) we gain a better understanding of this world. We bind together with fragile threads, strands, and fibre of the earth to protect, teach and nurture te rito (the flax shoot). 

The name Muka Tangata refers to the strands of muka that bind people and land together.

Our Order in Council 

The Interim Establishment Board (iEB) was responsible for consulting with industry and developing an Orders in Council (OiC) that outlined the name of our WDC, industries represented, governance arrangements and other core aspects of the WDC. More than 200 people and organisations provided feedback on the draft OiCs. This engagement helped ensure our WDC was established in ways that will best meet industry needs. 

Once approved by the Minister of Education, OiCs were sent to the Governor-General for signature. On Monday 10 May 2021 Her Excellency the Governor-General, Patsy Reddy, gave Royal Assent, passing into law, OiCs establishing the six WDCs. The legislation came into effect on 11 June 2021.  

See the Muka Tangata People, Food and Fibre OiC.

How our Workforce Development Council was established 

Extensive consultation with industry and the vocational education sector took place prior to our WDC being stood up on 4 October 2021.  

The establishment of WDCs was led by the WDC iEBs that were made up of industry representatives, a number of whom were subsequently appointed to the permanent WDC Council. The main role of iEBs was to oversee the legal establishment of WDCs, which occurred through an Orders in Council (OiC) process.