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Engineering guru sharing his skills

May 31, 2019

Luke at community event DIY in the Whare

When it comes to practising what he teaches, EIT’s new mechanical engineering tutor Luke Batten can just about say he’s done it all.

As a heavy fabrication engineer, he has worked on many of Gisborne’s new buildings and pack houses including Leaderbrand’s new salad plant, the buildings at Juken Nissho, Kaiaponi Farms and New Zealand Fruits, as well as working on the strengthening of many earthquake damaged buildings.  

He did his apprenticeship with Eastland Engineering and was with them for 12.5 years then later on for another five years in agricultural engineering at Leaderbrand produce. 

One of the highlights of his career was working with Industrial Maintenance Solutions, servicing and modifying food-processing lines all around town.

At Leaderbrand his earlier fibre glassing skills also proved handy. Luke started his career initially as a Fibre Glasser with CSB Huntsman boats in Christchurch before switching to engineering at Munroe steelwork in Wellington. 

You could say engineering is in his blood – he always enjoyed tinkering with old machinery in and around his father’s shed. 

Luke’s other passion and hobby is restoring old cars. By the time he was 16 he owned about 16 Minis. He decided he wanted something a bit bigger and more luxurious so he switched to Datsuns. Today he and his brother have about 30 of them, most of them fully restored.

He just loves making something beautiful out of nothing, if necessary, machining or fabricating the new parts. 

Luke made a commitment when he was young to share his knowledge, initially with his brother and friends and later with the apprentices he guided at Eastland Engineering.

When the opportunity arose to be a tutor at EIT, he jumped at the opportunity.   He realised this was something that had been at the back of his mind since he was first learning metalwork at high school.

“I want the younger generation to jump into a career that will serve them for life.”

In his new role at EIT, Luke will be working with students going for their New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering, along with some specialist training schemes and high school trades academy programmes.