Tikanga as a tool for supporting the small steps in the journey

September 28, 2020

Chris McIvor is an expert in helping people develop in their sport, and he also uses sport to help clients develop as people. Now, he has added a brand new Skills Active tikanga qualification to his toolkit as well.

Through his business MACA Sports Leadership, Chris works in people development, in all its forms. He started the company after a 20-year career in sport delivery and management, and sport remains a core element of the business – but it has grown into something bigger.

“A lot of what I do is based around helping people reset themselves, do the basics well, and then work towards their goals,” says Chris, pictured above.

“For sportspeople, they might have had an injury or run of bad form. Or it may be around their career, having a look at where they’re at and where they’re going. It involves some life coaching, but using sport as the context most of the time,” he says.

“And then the other side of the business is around building culture. So I do some work with organisations on their team culture and communication and those sorts of thing.”

As his business has grown, Chris has found himself working in Māori contexts and with Māori clients, more and more often. Although he had a little bit of knowledge of tikanga, he wanted to deepen his understanding. So he completed the recently launched New Zealand Certificate in Tikanga (Mātauranga Māori) (Level 2).

“I wasn’t sure how to introduce myself, how to communicate in written te reo; it was just becoming evident to me that I needed to have this in my tools.

“And I actually wanted to know a little bit about the history as well. That’s probably been one of the best things about this qualification – yes, you learn to speak some te reo, but you also learn about Māori history, the history of your area, your local iwi.”

Chris is continuing to grow his business, and adding pre-employment work into his practice – connecting young adults to work, training and education opportunities, and helping them to find a purpose.

“When I was a teenager I didn’t have a lot of help in joining the dots and making me realise my potential.

“So I have a real passion for helping people in that 18 to 25 age bracket, and making sure that they have someone walking alongside them and giving them a little push along.

“There’s nothing better when you finish a day and you know that you’ve helped someone, even if it’s just a small step in their journey.”

In pre-employment, Chris says, “there is a real emphasis on making sure that we reach the Māori population”. Therefore, embracing te reo and tikanga is a way of showing respect and care for his clients.

“And I want make sure that it’s actually real – it’s not token. If you have made the effort so that you can stand up in a room and do your pepeha and introduce yourself and do a karakia, that helps and it means something.”

Tikanga is important for anyone who is a New Zealander, Chris says.

“For anyone who may need to use it in their work environment, you do need to take it seriously, and the best way to do that is to commit to a learning programme – that’s what this qualification does.”