After completing the Certificate in Introductory Trade Skills (Carpentry) at EIT Ruatoria, followed by the Certificate of Carpentry (Level 3) through EIT Tairāwhiti, Tereora Tapaitau landed a cadetship at Gisborne District Council.
Named after the Cook Islands school where his grandfather was dux, Tereora learned about the value of education at a young age.
“When I was little, my grandfather used to say: ‘Use your head, use your head! Don’t be dumb! Be smarter than us! Don’t watch TV! Read a book!’
“I wasn’t good at maths but I stuck with it. I wasn’t good at English, but I loved classical studies and got into reading through that.”
Originally from the Cook Islands, Tereora’s family moved to Auckland when he was four. After finishing school he studied for his National Diploma in Architectural Technology in Auckland.
In 2014, he moved to Te Araroa where the people, the language and the mountains rising from the sea made him feel at home.
For the next two years he gave his drafting qualification a practical edge by studying for the Certificate in Introductory Trade Skills (Carpentry) at EIT Ruatoria. Having completed the programme, he moved to Gisborne to study for the Certificate in Carpentry (Level 3).
Once he had completed that qualification, he secured a building services cadetship with the Gisborne District Council.
After his earlier study in front of a computer in Auckland, he enjoyed the practical learning of carpentry with EIT on the East Coast.
“We did joinery exercises and learned a lot of the traditional carpentry skills. Builders used to do everything. There is a lot more specialisation now, but we learned it all. We built a fence and a deck, we learned how to calculate and cost all the materials needed for our projects and we built
them with our own hands.
“Our tutor Rex Mangu was easy going, really cool.”
With his qualification in hand, Tereora is enjoying the varied nature of his job.
“Council will build me up to a role through a cadetship. I’m pretty stoked with it too because I’ve already learned new things and I’m hungry to learn.
Through the council I can gain more knowledge on drawing plans. My goal is to eventually design and build my own house, so working at the council I can understand and work with what they want.
I’m grateful to my Level 3 tutor Roger Davies for encouraging me to apply for the role.”
His grandfather’s advice kept him going when the going got tough.
“He always said: ’Get an education, strive to be your best and don’t take holidays when it’s time to work and study.’ ”
His own advice for young people considering a qualification is to go for it.
“Go all out, don’t hold back. There will be naysayers but you can prove them wrong. You will reach the light at the end of the tunnel eventually. You just have to pursue your goals step by step. Knowledge is power.”