Pasifika Carpentry Success

Carpentry students Aisake Laukau (l) and Samuelu Moemalo (r)

Fifteen more carpentry students almost ready for the workforce

By Alan Tristram

Fifteen Pasifika carpentry students of Pacific Island descent have this week been finishing  a house they have been building all year as part of their study towards a Carpentry Certificate at the Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) in Petone.

Earlier this year, other Weltec students  built a similar home at the Ōtaki campus.

The Pacific Island Scholarship students are taking part in the national Pasifika Trades Strategy.

Some Pasifika students (students of Pacific Island descent) 300 are being trained in trades required for the rebuild of Christchurch and to support infrastructure developments across the country.

Acting Dean of the Trades and Technology Faculty and Head of the School of Construction at WelTec Neil McDonald, who has worked in the industry for more than 30 years, commented on the outstanding quality of the house which has been sold on the open market and is about to be transported along with two other houses to the Coromandel.  “This is our first intake of Pacific Island students. They have studied and worked hard all year as a team to complete this house.  I’m very impressed with the detailing for this build.  The students will be an asset to any employer.”


A unique feature of the project has been community support, provided by Pacific Church Ministers who quickly got behind the project when it was announced in late 2011.

Reverend Nove Vailaau, one of the Ministers who was involved in promoting the initiative from the start, commented that it was heartening to see Pacific Island people succeeding in their programme of study.

He congratulated the students for producing such high quality work.  “WelTec students, along with those studying at Whitireia, are part of the push to get more Pacific Island trainees into the trades.  This is a great initiative.

“The students finishing this week are now ready to take their carpentry, plumbing, painting and decorating, and electrical skills to the market and make a contribution.  Every Pacific Island girl and boy in the country would love to have an opportunity like this.”

WelTec’s Pasifika Advisory Committee, with community members representing each of the 7 major nations in the Pacific, also provided liaison and support for the students.

The students come from different backgrounds – some straight from school like L.A. Moemai who always wanted to be a builder.

“I want to go on and study a level 4 qualification in carpentry next year at WelTec.  I need a job in the industry to do this and with what I’ve learnt this year I’ll be in a good position to do both.

Another student, Enisila Lotaki came to study at WelTec after working in a variety of jobs. “My children and grandchildren provide the inspiration to me to get this qualification.  I want to make my family even prouder and work in the building and construction industry whether that is in Wellington or Christchurch.”

Linda Sissons, Chief Executive of WelTec, acknowledges the hard work required by the students to get to this point.  “WelTec wants to train more Pacific Islanders.  Having a tertiary qualification is important – it provides a key signal to employers that a prospective employee has the right skills and attitude to make a big contribution in the workplace”

Employers wanting to make contact with the students should telephone Sandra Hanson 021474358.