Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Young wāhine encouraged to consider construction careers

From left, Naomi Penu from Tamaki College, Alanna Bray from St Mary’s College and Cecilia Tuifua from St Mary’s College. Photo: Supplied
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Local Democracy Reporting | Free Public Interest News Service

By Torika Tokalau of Local Democracy Reporting

Auckland International Airport became a classroom for a day as wāhine students from South Auckland high schools visited to learn more about the infrastructure industry.

The Girls in Infrastructure initiative highlighted the significant contribution of women in the sector, aiming to inspire the generation of female leaders.

A total of 80 students, aged 16 to 18 years old, from 10 schools, swapped books for high vis vests to hear first-hand from women in the sector.

Tamaki College student, Naomi Penu, 17, said she wanted to help break the stereotype about infrastructure amongst females.

“There’s not many girls in construction, I want to see more women in infrastructure,” Penu said.

“It’s inspiring hearing from the women today. I could see myself driving big machinery one day.”

St Mary’s College student Cecilia Tuifua, 17, who was considering a career in law, said it was empowering to see women work in a sector usually dominated by men.

“[It’s] Good to see women doing what everyone thinks only men can do. [It’s] good to see we don’t have to do one thing and keep our options broad, not limit ourselves.”

Auckland Airport chief infrastructure officer Susana Fueyo said women had a key role to play in infrastructure.

“Auckland Airport is one of the region’s most active construction sites, with a thousand people currently working on our infrastructure pipeline at the precinct,” Fueyo said.

“This includes 600 working on the programme to integrate our international and domestic terminals and build for the future generations of travel.

“However, a fraction of all these workers are women.”

Students visited three key construction projects at the airport: ‘the stitch’ – a three-storey, 95 metre structure that will act as the connection point between international and domestic travel and the now closed Inner Terminal Road – where vital utilities such as water, were being upgraded.

They also visited the new Western Truck Dock – the new entry point for all goods and services going between land-side and air-side at the international terminal.

“We hope the students come away from their visit with a new sense of purpose and drive to be in the infrastructure sector.”

Infrastructure New Zealand corporate services manager and Girls in Infrastructure organiser Katrina Smith said they wanted to showcase a diverse range of infrastructure opportunities and increase female participation.

“The idea of the day was to create an engaging experience amongst Year 12 and 13 girls,” Smith said.

“We want to give students the opportunity to step onto a live construction site, gain hands-on experience with heavy machinery and engage in meaningful conversations with people in the industry.”

Auckland Council has 11.08% shares in Auckland Airport, after selling off a third of the shares last year.

Local democracy reporting

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