One visit to Gisborne was all it took for David Dollaga and his family to fall in love with the place.
The family of six, originally from the Philippines, had lived in Auckland for a decade and were looking for opportunity for a better future in New Zealand.
“We wanted to live in a place that has a beach and access to nature, not too many people like Auckland, no traffic and somewhere house prices were affordable,” says David.
Firstly, the family looked at Invercargill, drawn by the free education policy offered by the district.
“But my daughter did not like that place. Then we looked at Palmerston North as we have a friend living there but it was too flat and no beach.
“Then another friend, a pastor here in Gisborne, suggested we have a look here. My wife (Myrna) said ‘oooh it’s beautiful’. We fell in love with Gisborne quickly.
“First I needed to find a job and I realised I needed to change and adapt,” says David.
Formerly a teacher in the Philippines, he decided not to go through the process of registering as a teacher in New Zealand and changed his path taking on a job as a payroll officer for an Auckland health board.
“There was not opportunity here to continue working as a payroll officer.
“We have experience taking care of old people from the Philippine culture and I thought caregiving would be good idea for work but I needed to upskill.”
David enrolled at EIT Tairāwhiti and studied Health and Wellbeing level three and four.
He was working full time at Dunblane Retirement Village while studying.
“The work is not stressful, and I am inspired by the old people. It gives me a good feeling to work here.”
The study means extra money in his pay packet every week.
His wife Myrna and oldest daughter Shelomy have also done level three to upskill.
“My daughter used the course to help decide her future. She wants to go into pharmacy or nursing next year.”
If anyone wants more information about the Health and Wellbeing programme, go to EIT Tairāwhiti website or call into the main office in Palmerston Road.