Day to day, Jarrod serves as both our Programme Manager for Te Ara Whanake and our Lead Facilitator for Te Ara Māramatanga. In addition, Jarrod is the Māori Advisor for a number of our teams and is a representative on the Te Korowai Board.
Jarrod’s journey with Downer began in 2010 when he joined our Rail Projects team as a Carpenter. In 2014 he was selected to join the very first pilot of the Te Ara Whanake programme. Reflecting on his experience, Jarrod shared, "I could not quite believe that a corporate organisation gave us time off work to be on a marae-based training programme. From that very first programme, I have now made lifelong friends."
Now nine years later, our Te Ara Whanake programme has garnered numerous accolades for its exceptional ability to inspire and empower participants to fully embrace their cultural heritage with pride, while also taking decisive steps towards emerging as effective leaders. Through this renowned programme, our Māori employees have been able to make significant progress in their careers, becoming influential leaders and role models within their communities. To date, a total of 363 Downer employees have successfully completed the programme, solidifying its reputation as a transformative force in the realm of Māori leadership development. Jarrod credits the programme for changing his aspirations and giving him the confidence to pursue his studies, now having gained a Diploma of Māori & Indigenous Art, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Matauranga Māori, and is currently studying for his Masters in Māori Strategic Development.
Jarrod is an essential part of our exclusive cultural immersion initiative, Te Ara Māramatanga, which is a programme that immerses participants in Te Ao Māori. Participants learn about te reo me ōna tikanga in the special wānanga space that is the marae. Jarrod's favourite module is a Te Tiriti o Waitangi course that focuses on social inequalities. Participants have described this course as both confronting and life changing. With his guidance and a robust team of experts, this transformative program has attracted and graduated 198 Downer employees since its inception in 2018, creating a ripple effect of cross-cultural understanding and appreciation throughout the organisation.
Jarrod is a shining example of how our commitment to bridging the gap between corporate and indigenous culture, providing opportunities for our people to flourish, and acknowledging that life is more than just work, can empower individuals to contribute beyond their job descriptions. Downer has supported Jarrod throughout his journey, providing mentorship from senior leaders and opportunities for promotion that have helped provide opportunities and security for his whānau. Jarrod, in turn, has become a mentor to many, using his experience and knowledge to help others succeed. He is an active member of his community, coaching a myriad of teams at his local rugby club Rāhui.
For Jarrod, Downer has been more than just a workplace. It has been a place where he can be himself, where he can pursue his passions, and where he can make a difference. He embodies our commitment to empowering our people and our communities. By sharing stories like Jarrod’s, we hope we can inspire others to do the same.