About us

The role of Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) is to ensure the vocational education system meets industry needs and gives a stronger voice to Māori business and iwi development. We will give our industries and employers greater leadership and influence across vocational education.


Success for us will mean employers - including Māori business owners - are confident that vocational education graduates are ready for work and that the future skills needs of their industry will be addressed by the vocational education system. 

As well as directly benefiting employers, we will improve confidence and outcomes across the sector. Providers can be confident their programmes are relevant to employers and endorsed by industry. Learners can be confident their qualifications will meet employers’ expectations and national industry standards. 

The industries we represent  

Ringa Hora (Services) WDC works with industries including Advisory Services, Aviation, Cleaning Services, Business Services, Contact Centres, Financial Services, Hospitality, Local Government, Real Estate, Retail, Security Services, State sector, and Tourism & Travel. 

What we will do 

We will work with industry and employers to understand the skills that are needed. This information will be passed to education and training providers, who will be expected to create learning programmes that will give people relevant skills to address future workforce needs. 

We will lead the development of industry qualifications, set industry standards and assess training provision against these industry standards. Where appropriate, we will set and help with capstone assessments at the end of a qualification. Industry standards will be consistently applied across the country, and across all modes of learning, whether on the job (such as apprenticeships), on campus or online.

We will also endorse vocational education programmes prior to them being approved by NZQA. 

Who we will work with 

As well as engaging with industry and employers, we will work collaboratively across the vocational education sector. We will engage with Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs), Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) and Providers (Te Pūkenga, Wānanga and Private Training Establishments (PTEs)).

We will also engage with a range of parties to help inform and prioritise their service delivery. These include the Ministry of Education (MoE), Advocacy Groups, Learners, Te Taumata Aronui, Government agencies and schools. 

Our brand name and logo  

After earlier committing to the development of a te reo Māori name for the Council, the interim Establishment Board sought the advice of Renata Hakiwai (co-chair of Hanga Aro Rau WDC) and his uncle, Dr Joseph Te Rito, a distinguished Māori language specialist and academic. The WDC serves the needs of a broad range of industries, including aviation, hospitality, retail, travel, tourism, cleaning and caretaking, security, contact centres, real estate and financial services. The interim board developed a statement about the importance of service and the exchange between customers and suppliers of that service.  

A name that could fully exemplify these qualities was sought. Dr Te Rito suggested ‘ringa hora’ which is a favourite and often quoted aphorism on marae in Ngāti Kahungunu – Hawke’s Bay, in particular the Heretaunga (Hastings) area. Dr Te Rito states ‘ringa’ are ‘hands’, and ‘hora’ means ‘spread out’ and in this case, facing upwards. ‘Ringa hora’, the upturned, outspread hands symbolises ‘manaakitanga’, 'hospitality’, 'service’. This wonderful value is fundamental to and pervades the whole Services industry. 

Dr Te Rito added that te reo Māori is rich in metaphorical language and other metaphors referring to the 'ringa' were plentiful, such as 'ringa rehe' (skilled person), 'ringa wera' (kitchen worker), 'ringa whero' (chief), 'ringa tohu' (director), 'ringa ngaio' (professional).

Council Chair, Hinerangi Edwards added: “We acknowledge Dr Te Rito, Ngāti Kahungunu and all those who exemplify these qualities every day. We will work hard to live up to this name and the concepts behind it. We know that many of our service industries are hurting and need many arms outspread towards them. Our team, led by Kari Scrimshaw, our Chief Executive, will focus on serving businesses, learners and their communities through supporting the development of meaningful qualifications and standards.” 

Our logo is an image of a taura whiri, a plaited rope. The taura whiri, plaited rope has been used as a metaphor by kaiwhaikōrero (orators) to connect whānau groups through a shared ancestor and to acknowledge a leader’s ability to bring people together. It has been applied to various situations where elements come together in unity. The taura/rope is made by plaiting aho (strands) made from rolled muka (scraped flax strands). Creating a stronger taura (rope) than the aho could on their own. 

Our logo colour relates to Māori culture and the connection between people and nature.  Services occur in our human domain. They are based on interactions between people. The chosen colour links to the ochre pigments of our soils that were fashioned by Tane into the first humans in forming Hineahuone, a woman forged of clay, from who all humans descend.


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 WDC Interim Establishment Boards (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. 

Our Order in Council  

The iEB was responsible for consulting with industry and developing an OiC that outlined the name of our WDC, industries represented, governance arrangements and other core aspects of their 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 in to law, OiCs establishing the six WDCs. The legislation came into effect on 11 June 2021. 

See the Services OiC – note our WDC had not selected a Māori name by the time our OiC was submitted, hence the OiC does not refer to us as Ringa Hora.