Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Another day, another dollar for young carpentry apprentices Nehemiah Akeripa and Elysium Tolova’a-Stanley.
Both young men are part of the Raranga trades training programme, a partnership between construction company LT McGuinness and Te Runanga O Toa Rangatira in the Welington Region.
“The main reason why I go to work is, I don’t want my family to be hungry for food,” Nehemiah says.
“I don’t want my siblings to go to school and look at other kid’s food. I want to be that person to provide food on the table for the family.”
And it’s not just helping put food on the table that’s motivating Nehemia.
“When I was young in Samoa I used to go work with my dad and help my dad a lot. And when I grow up I feel like I want to be a builder.” he says.
And thanks to Raranga that dream of becoming a builder is one step closer.
“Raranga was set up about a year and a half ago to ensure that we can provide better outcomes for Maori and Pasifika in the construction industry,” says Recruitment manager Roydon Shaw.
“So what we want to do is to provide safe and culturally equitable employment pathways into success in the construction industry whether that be further training, apprenticeships or whatever’s needed.”
And while there are many labour hire recruitment agencies, shaw says what sets Raranga apart is its commitment to Maori and Pasifika staff.
“Essentially our service delivery is based on Maori Public Health model – Te Whare Tapu Wha – so we really represent in our management system a holistic approach to management,” he says
“So we wrap around our individual as much as possible, or as much as needed. We provide mentoring, pastoral support and training pathways.?
Another young worker to benefit from this approach is Elysium who has just recently started his electrical apprenticeship.
“Yeah I think since Year 9 I just knew I didn’t want to go to Uni. I wanted to get into the trades straight away,” Elysium says.
“I think I was just keen for more hands-on work, rather than sitting behind a desk or sitting in an office and typing behind a computer.
And although Elysium’s dream is to one day become a professional rugby player, he knows getting a qualification now is just as important.
“After I get qualified I want to move overseas, get paid for rugby but still have this qualification under
my belt. So that if rugby goes sideways I can still have a qualification.”
Meanwhile, Shaw would love to see more Pacific people in the construction industry and says, it’s a good fit for many.
“The awesome thing about our Maori and Pacific kaimahi at Raranga and the general industry is obviously, really attuned to physical work; really good at working in a collegial environment and typically working to support broader possibilities for their whanau and community.”