Three young women are about to embark on their dream career in the NZ Army, having just completed the EIT | Te Pūkenga Services Pathway programme in Hawke’s Bay.
Keighan Hikawai (Ngāti Kahungunu), Vae Kitiona and Alazae Dunn have been accepted into the NZ Army as Movement Operators and will commence their basic training at Waiouru Military Camp on July 17 alongside five other EIT | Te Pūkenga graduates from Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.
Movement Operators are responsible for the transport of troops, equipment, and vital supplies around the world including Antarctica, South-East Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the USA.
Vae and Alazae, both 18-year-old, attended William Colenso College before embarking on the programme at EIT | Te Pūkenga. While 17-year-old Keighan attended Karamu High School up until Year 12.
“Doing this programme really helped me gain a greater insight into what a career in the Army looks like and I am so excited to start,” Keighan says.
Alazae says the programme provided a whānau environment, not too dissimilar to what they will experience going forward.
“They have supported us 100 per cent of the way. Without them, there is no way we would be where we are now.”
Keighan is following in the footsteps of her older brother who is also in the Army.
As part of the programme, they visited both Waiouru and Linton Military Camp, speaking to fellow graduates and seeing where they will be spending their time.
The Services Pathway programme based in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti has transitioned more than 120 graduates into the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) over the past four years.
This success can largely be attributed to the support from tutors Andrew McCrory (Hawke’s Bay) and Zac Te Maro (Tairāwhiti), and other Ex- Army staff employed by EIT | Te Pūkenga School of Trades and Technology.
Todd Rogers, Head of School, and ex-Army Engineer says the programme has a “winning formula” which allows ākonga (students) to make an informed choice.
“We developed this programme to support students to join the NZDF or NZ Police and experience the amazing opportunities these organisations provide.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the NZ Army as did the other staff and we want the youth of Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti to experience the same life changing opportunity.”
Andrew, an ex-Army mechanic says: “I am really stoked that these ladies and our other graduates have been successful with their applications”.
“We had some setbacks, but they persevered through the process, maintaining their fitness, theoretical and interview skills to come out the other side and will soon enter the New Zealand Defence Force.”