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.

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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

Toitū te Waiora (Community, Health, Education and Social Services) Workforce Development Council represents industries including Care Services, Disability Services, Education and Educational Support Services, Funeral Services, Health Services, Public Order Safety, Regulatory Services, Skin and Nail Therapy Services, Social Services, and Urban Pest Control.  

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 name

Our Name - Toitū te Waiora - Protecting and preserving health and wellbeing now and in the future.  

"Toitū" is often referred as the elevated kōrero and thinking in relation to our health and wellbeing: 

  • Toitū Te Oranga Wairua - Spiritual 
  • Toitū Te Mauri Ora - Life principle 
  • Toitū Te Waiora - Uplifting Health and Wellbeing 

Our name has been gifted from Te Kāhui Ahumahi members who also presented the following waiata which incorporates Te Whare Tapa Whā model of health (Durie. 1984).  


ToitūToitū          (Sustainability)  

Toitū te waiora e....  (protect/preserve wellbeing) 

Toitūte Tinana  (physical/body) 

Toitūte hinengaro  (mind/intellect) 

Toitūte wairua  (spiritual) 

Toitūte whānau  (family) 

Toitū te waiora e… (protect/preserve wellbeing)  

Nā Wini Geddes/Brenda Smith 

Our logo  

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 connectwhānau 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.  The use of purple links us to colours only found in berries, linking us to the domain of rongoa, medicinal plants, such as the Tawa berry. Purple is also widely and globally used to represent faith and spirituality, te taha wairua, our spiritual well-being.

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 Community, Health, Education and Social Services OiC. Note, we had not selected a Māori name by the time our OiC was submitted, hence our OiC does not refer to us as Toitū te Waiora.