Business activator bridges people and port

Published on 22 September 2022

Port Employment Precinct Business Activator, Seletar Taputoro

The Whanganui District Employment Training Trust (WDETT) is pleased to announce the appointment of Port Employment Precinct Business Activator, Seletar Taputoro.

WDETT is one of five partner groups steering Te Pūwaha, and is responsible for governing the Port Employment Precinct (PEP) to facilitate training development and job opportunities associated with the port revitalisation project.

The PEP was established when WDETT secured $1.5 million dollars of funding from Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit to contribute to resolving skill and labour gaps in the region. The funding was provided through Te Ara Mahi, a programme that aims to address long-term barriers to employment and provide pathways to education and skills training.  

Seletar is passionate about education and community. She has held various roles at local schools, including recently working with students at Te Kura o Kokohuia, assisting with their career and study pathways. She also established Whanganui Pākihi Māori and last year held the first Pākihi Māori Summit where businesses, services and stakeholders were able to showcase and connect.

As Business Activator, Seletar’s role tasks her with supporting the Port Employment Precinct work as a conduit between youth, whānau, training providers, tertiary providers, government agencies, employers, and iwi. 

“My role is specifically related to the port, and the Castlecliff community. It’s about connecting with employers and determining how we can support with upskilling and retaining their staff and creating room for staff to grow within their organisations.” 

“Whanganui is leading the way with Te Pūwaha and ensuring that Tupua te Kawa is embedded in all that we do in relation to the port. It’s amazing as it binds us as people to the awa and the awa to us.”

She says it’s also about rangatahi - the youth of Castlecliff and their families - and being able to bridge the gaps.

“The employers need young people, and they want to train young people. It’s about how to connect those two.”

A big focus is engaging the Castlecliff community with what is happening at Te Pūwaha and the job and training opportunities that are coming.

“We are blessed to work in a space with others to help support our community to build a workforce that can potentially fill those roles and thrive. It’s great for Castlecliff, and it’s great for Whanganui.”

One month into the role, Seletar is relishing her work with like-minded colleagues and their stakeholders.

“We love our community. We’re champions of young people and of our town. And there is true commitment from the businesses out there who want to make a difference. They are passionate about community, and about young people. That’s what gets you excited.

The physical and spiritual connection that she shares with Whanganui and Te Pūwaha, combined with her personal values makes her a great fit for the role.

“My Dad is Te Atihaunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngāti Tama my Mum is Tamareheroto Ngā Rauru Kitahi, Ngā a Waiariki Ngāti Apa and Ngāti Ruanui. I whakapapa to the awa and the whenua where Te Pūwaha meets which makes this even more special.  I connect through my blood but more than that, it’s my passion. I just want to help people be the best version of themselves.”

To learn more about the Port Employment Precinct, visit for contact details and further information.