Students trade up for the rebuild

Tessa Gregory1Tessa Gregory (Ngāi Tahu – Ngāti Hāteatea) was nervous when she started He Toki ki te Rika this year. She now says enrolling in the He Toki (Māori trades training) programme at CPIT was one of the best decisions she has ever made.

“I was determined to make something of my life because I didn’t finish school and I didn’t finish CPIT’s Diploma in Māori, so my next goal was to get a trade and complete it and even if I can’t do anything else in life I can fall back on my trade,” Tessa said.

“I was nervous because I hadn’t seen many women around in the trade industry and I thought this could be different. But I was excited. I like being different and doing something different.”

After the 14-week programme and a further six weeks of work experience Tessa was offered an apprenticeship with Frame Contracting. “I was so happy. I had finally achieved something. I’m getting paid to learn.”

Within three years, Tessa will be qualified in painting and decorating for homes, commercial spaces and Earthquake Commission repair work.

Whānau, friends, tutors, industry partners and representatives from Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu came together on Wednesday 11 November to celebrate the success of this year’s He Toki ki te Rika students.

He Toki winners

Top left: He Toki supreme winners
Right: Mana Winiata won best overall He Toki student.

More than 150 students finished the course this year. He Toki is an iwi-led collaboration between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, CPIT and Hawkins Construction that is changing lives as well as contributing more skilled workers to the rebuild of Christchurch. Pastoral support for He Toki students is comprehensive and continues when the students graduate and find employment. The focus is not just on getting a career but succeeding in leadership positions as Māori.

“Most of us did pretty well. I think everyone got something out of that course. I’m really thankful to He Toki. It was perfect timing; it was one of the best decisions. I am just happy. I feel like I’m on the right path. If it wasn’t for He Toki I don’t know what I would be doing now,” says Tessa.

If you or someone in your whānau is interested in enrolling call 0800 24 24 76 and ask to speak to CMPA.

He Toki haka