Ara Ika creates jobs for Ngāti Kahungunu whānau

updated By Wepiha Te Kanawa

A new training programme for workers in the fishing industry is providing permanent employment opportunities for Hawke's Bay locals. "Ara Ika" is filling the void of skilled fishing workers which has seen a decline over the last few years. 

Give a man a fish, he can feed his family for a day.  But give a man a boat and a net, he can provide for his family forever. 

That's exactly what Ron Van Dillen from Hawke's Bay Seafoods has done for Tamati Hunuhunu (Te Arawa).

Van Dillen of Hawke's Bay Seafoods says, "One of the ways we could do that was working with these guys, with these young guys that don't have work and maybe they will make good crew."

Ara Ika is a training programme established to increase skilled fishermen in the Hawke's Bay area.  But Hunuhunu says it's not all fun and games, saying, "As soon as we got out there I started to get sea sick and spent a day in bed, after that I was alright."

Van Dillen says it's hard work on Hawke's Bay Seafoods' 16 boats.

"Some guys are not going to cut it, they're not going to like being out on the boat, crook and all that sort of stuff, but we are really happy with the guys that we've got at the moment."

Hunuhunu says, "Might go to the factory and give filleting a go and see what happens.  I'll go on a boat if I have to."

Thanks to the success of the programme, Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Wairoa Waikaremoana Māori Trust are looking to expand to different areas in the coming years.