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Waikato-raised EIT | Te Pūkenga student welcomes addition of Services Pathway Programme to region

February 1, 2024

Waikato-raised Kaylah Waihi (Tainui, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine) says the Services Pathway Programme gave her a unique insight into the New Zealand Defence Force.

Now EIT | Te Pūkenga will be offering the programme, already available in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti, in the Waikato in partnership with Wintec | Te Pūkenga.

More than 130 graduates have already completed the programme and pathwayed into the New Zealand Defence Force.

Todd Rogers, Head of School, and ex-Army Engineer says it is an exciting new offering for the Waikato.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to deliver this successful programme in another region.”

Eighteen-year-old Kaylah completed Year 12 at St Peter’s Cambridge before moving to Hastings to live with her grandparents and complete the programme at the Hawke’s Bay Campus in July last year.  

“I was unsure of what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to tick up a huge loan at uni and the Defence Force has always interested me.”

After a discussion with one of her close friends, she enrolled in the 19 week programme, which at the time was only offered in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.

“It was so fun. It gave me an awesome insight to what is available in the NZ Defence Force, the visit to Waiouru Military Camp was definitely a highlight. It was really cool to see what life could look like.”

Kaylah says the group of students (ākonga) and tutors (kaimahi) made the programme enjoyable and supported her all the way.

“The tutors were really cool. They really helped us with all the work and if we were struggling with anything at all. Like when I struggled in the first few weeks being homesick away from my parents, and because I didn’t know anyone, they really encouraged me, and I ended up really enjoying it.”

She was initially interested in the Air Force but after hearing a talk from the Navy, she reconsidered.

“It really interested me more than I thought it would.”

Her application to the NZDF is currently on hold due to a torn ACL. In the meantime, Kaylah will study the NZ Certificate in Business (Administration and Technology) (Level 3) at EIT | Te Pūkenga.

However, she cannot recommend the programme more highly.

“If you’re not going to Uni and unsure of what to do, this programme opens your eyes to what is available in the NZDF.”

If you are interested in the Services Pathway programme you can find out more here.