Source: Ringa Hora Services

Ringa Hora Services Workforce Development Council is excited to introduce both their new name and their inaugural Chief Executive.

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”.

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 our CEO, will focus on serving businesses, learners and their communities through supporting the development of meaningful qualifications and standards.”

“We are pleased to welcome Kari Scrimshaw as Chief Executive for Ringa Hora. In Kari we have found a leader who is committed to our kaupapa and has a track record of successful start-ups in both public and private sectors. Kari has the personal and professional grit that we believe will support Ringa Hora to contribute to a capable, productive and healthy workforce through vocational education transformation and industry leadership.”

Kari is currently a Director at professional services firm PwC and has spent the last year working alongside the six interim Establishment Boards, Transitional ITO CEs and industry partners with RoVE/TEC as the Workforce Development Council Lead.  Kari started off her working life in tourism and hospitality operations in the UK and the US. More recently she led the set up and establishment of the Climate Change Commission and has held other leadership roles across the public service.

Kari said “I am thrilled to be joining Ringa Hora and to be able to work alongside the team from October 4th as we support the Council and our industries on the realisation of this reform.  Our sector depends on our people – ‘He tangata, he tangata, he tangata’.  I’m looking forward to building strong relationships with our industries.  These relationships will inform our advice to the Tertiary Education Commission on developing a talented and high performing workforce that will enable our sectors to build strong futures – a future where our people and our businesses thrive through good skills, meaningful qualifications and equitable opportunities for all.”

“Many of the sectors represented by Ringa Hora Services Workforce Development Council have been severely impacted by COVID-19.  I am committed to working alongside these industries to understand the talent and skills they will require to rebuild and re-establish their businesses and their huge contribution to New Zealand’s GDP.”

Industries represented by Ringa Hora Services Workforce Development Council include advisory services, aviation, cleaning services, business services, contact centres, financial services, hospitality, local government, real estate, retail, security services, state sector, tourism and travel.


Dr Joseph (Joe) Te Rito is Rongomaiwahine/Ngāti Kahungunu. He is currently Deputy-Director/Kaihautū Mātauranga Māori with Ako AOTEAROA (National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence).  He was previously Kaihautū Tikanga and Reo at Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (Māori Centre for Research Excellence) based at the University of Auckland until December 2015. Joe headed Māori Studies at EIT for 17 years before that and he is founding and current Chair of Radio Kahungunu. He is an active te reo Māori researcher. When he was a student at Victoria University, he joined the Te Reo Māori Society which co-presented the Te Reo Māori Petition to Parliament in 1972. He holds a Māori Interpreters Licence.

Workforce Development Councils are being established through the Reform of Vocational Education and will come into effect on 4 October 2021. They will set standards, develop qualifications and shape the curriculum of vocational education to ensure it meets their industries’ needs.


See the TEC website for further information on Workforce Development Councils and Ringa Hora.