MPTT Builder Gives Back to Whanau
Te Akau Wharehoka lives and breathes Tikanga Māori and believes sometimes things happen for a reason and can be taken as signs, so when he heard Taranaki Futures Board Member Will Edwards speak about the Māori Pasifika Trades Training Programme at Parihaka it was like the wairua (spirits) were communicating with him.
“If you listen to the wairua, they guide you and that evening at Parihaka I could see a pathway to helping my community by taking up this opportunity to get a trade,” he says.
Once the seed was planted, 28-year-old Te Akau enrolled in a carpentry course in 2016 and made use of the Māori Pasifika Trades Training programme he first heard about at Parihaka.
Māori Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT) provides scholarships and support for Māori and Pasifika leaners to complete trades training aligned with pathways into trade careers. In Taranaki, MPTT is coordinated by Taranaki Futures with all study undertaken at WITT.
“Since MPTT has kicked off again in Taranaki in 2014 we’ve had over 102 students through the programme, most of whom have gone onto employment or apprenticeships,” says General Manager, Taranaki Futures Warwick Foy.
Today, Te Akau is a year into a building apprenticeship with Makegood Limited where he is learning on the job skills building residential properties in Taranaki, complementing his year of theory training.
“I love working and where it’s taking me,” he says.
A trustee at Parihaka, Te Akau aims to return to live there and help develop and improve the infrastructure to house more families as well as share his skills with his community.
“Being able to live and work at Parihaka and provide for my family is the dream I am working toward.”
Te Akau currently lives in New Plymouth with his partner and three young children. He spent his younger years at Parihaka and attended Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Tamarongo in Opunake followed by time at the former Okato College. During his final year he attended boarding school at Hato Paora College in Fielding.
His road to building took in roofing work and hospitality roles including a stint in tourism mecca Queenstown, but home is Parihaka. And now he has the skills to not only support his young family but in time give back to his community.
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