Reality show inspires Māori trades apprentices to help the community

updated By Wepiha Te Kanawa

A small group of Māori and Pacific Trades Training apprentices have dedicated their time and skill to help out Onehunga Primary School, saving them over $40,000 worth of work to build a new playground.

They don’t get paid, but the students, in collaboration with Māori and Pacific Trades Training are helping a community in need.

Apprentice builder Kitiona Ashpy-Leota says, “It's more like giving back to the community in a way, but its pretty fun actually working out here, giving back to the community of Onehunga. It's a privilege that they let me work on it.”

Onehunga Primary School was in desperate need of a new playground after a number of accidents on their old one.

Principal of Onehunga Primary School, Viki Holley told Te Kāea, “As part of the playground design we ask all of our children to say what it is you want in a playground, so the children selected different events for the playground and said this is the one we wanted and we had a playground designed around the event that the children wanted.”

Sarah Peraua is one of only four female students enrolled this year and says her interests in building started at home.

“I choose to study carpentry just because I was watching "The Block" last year it was just really intriguing seeing all the frames up and I was just wondering how is that made,” she says.

This is Sarah's first student project, but she says more females should pursue trades.

“I think females can bring just as much as males can, it's not about the strength but theory wise I think we are pretty onto it,” she adds.

Sir Pita Sharples, the head of Māori at the Māori and Pacific Trades Training said, "There are many Pacific Island students from South Auckland doing trades, but there are very few Māori about 100.  So I’m on the lookout for Māori who want to do this kind of work."

The new playground is set to be completed next month.