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Careers Expo puts Flaxmere teen on pathway to career in Navy

May 21, 2024

Dante Taylor has enjoyed working at TW Group ahead of her joining the Royal New Zealand Navy. Dante (left) is pictured here with Ross Hunt of TW Group.

Attending a Careers Expo while in Year 12 put a Flaxmere woman on a pathway to a career in the Navy.

Dante Taylor (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Kahungunu) was at Karamu High School when she went to the Expo at Pettigrew Green Arena. She says she was immediately interested in the stand where the Royal New Zealand Navy was recruiting because she has a cousin in the Navy.

One thing led to another and she found herself signed up last year (2023) for the Services Pathway programme at EIT, which prepares students for life in the armed services. Dante, 18, had initially planned to enrol in the programme at the beginning of 2023, but she tore her meniscus disc in her knee and was forced to wait for that to heal.

“I got the injury when I was lifting something at work. I was still recovering from tearing my ACL in April 2022 from Netball and then having had surgery on it in August. I had to defer to the next course, which was in July.”

When she finally got on the programme she realised that it was made for her.

Following completion of EIT’s Services Pathway programme Dante is now all set to go and flies to Auckland in August to begin a 16 week basic training at Devonport Naval Base in Auckland. She is looking forward to starting her career and becoming a Marine Technician.

“I feel like you do travel more in the Navy. I’ve been on an experience week where I travelled to Devenport for a week and got to go around base, learn more about the trades and learn more about the Navy itself.”

“The Service Pathway programme itself did help me a lot, from my tutors, my fitness and my knowledge about the Navy. Without the course I don’t think I would’ve made it. Service Pathway helped me look at all the services within the New Zealand Defence Force, but I felt that the Navy just better suits me and my lifestyle.”

While she is keen to have a good career in the Navy, her long-term goal is to become a police officer.

“I hope to be a police officer. That’s always my goal. I feel that the Navy will offer me the experience I need to pursue that goal.”

“I feel like the Navy will help me a lot with building up my confidence. And also being able to get qualifications, but I never know what might happen.”

While she has been waiting to go to the Navy, Dante has thrown herself into the workforce and is currently employed at TW Group as a Contract Administrator/Operations Assistant.

After injury setbacks, Dante Taylor (right) is now ready to join the Royal New Zealand Navy. She is pictured here with her friend Keighan Hikawai, who had completed the Service Pathway Programme.

 “I’ve been at TW since January and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a really good work place. They are very happy and supportive for me to get this opportunity to go to the Navy.”

TW Group Chief People Officer TWG Rik Anderson said: “It has been an absolute pleasure watching Dante flourish in our business.  Her can-do attitude, task focus and positive attitude have been a real bonus for all of us within the wider TW Group. Dante has been fantastic.” 

“Dante was open and transparent with us from the beginning that she was joining the Navy and we worked hard every week to ensure that she could commit the time and effort (including some positive encouragement around the number of press ups she needed to do every day) to ensure she passed and was accepted into the Navy.”

Rik says they will be extremely sad to see her go but wish her all the best as she joins the Navy.

“We will be watching her career with pride.”

Todd Rogers, EIT’s Head of the School of Trades and Technology said: “Dante was a model student during her time on the Services Pathway programme.”


“She displayed the drive to pursue her career in the Royal New Zealand Navy, a delay in her application due to a previous injury didn’t deter her and she has come out the other side and now embarks on a life changing career path.”


“I’d also like to thank TW Group for employing Dante and supporting her through the application process”