Seven years working in forestry has been replaced with a career in the New Zealand Army for Gisborne man Tiki Viqasi.
He decided to apply for the army while doing the EIT Tairāwhiti Services Pathway course in 2018.
A Fijian national, Tiki was working in the silviculture and planting side of forestry.
“As soon as I got residency status I started thinking about extra studies. I saved up and I liked the EIT (Tairāwhiti) course because for the cost of one course, I could see into many different career options – police, navy air force, army or fire service.
“I had spent the past seven years in forestry, and I liked the outdoors, so the army appealed to me.
Another aspect of the three-month EIT course that was very helpful was the personal self-development and learning the ethos and values of all the services like courage, commitment, comradeship, diversity and empathy.
The course was good for motivation and helpful for physical training.
“For fitness we had to run 2.4 kilometers within 12 minutes for men and 14 for women to pass services entry level. I found out on that course how easy that was to achieve. We started on 15 and it kept decreasing.
He was also playing rugby for YMP and that helped fitness levels.
Tiki and his Gisborne partner are parents of a three-year-old and a two-month-old.
After applying and being accepted, the first three-month basic training was the hardest for the young family.
Tiki commutes from his Palmerston North base when he has time off, but the family is looking to move closer to the army base.
He loves the new learning in his new work.
“We are always learning about new things, skills and new equipment and at the same time we are increasing stamina and resilience.”
Anyone interested in learning more about a career in the services can go to the EIT Tairāwhiti website or call into the main office on Palmerston Road.