Wāhine looks to break stigma in male dominated industry

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Eisha Teiho (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine) was one of over 150 hairstylists that graduated from Cut Above Academy at their annual ceremony last night at the Auckland Town Hall. Teiho hopes that receiving her qualifications will help her break the stigma of females in the barber industry.   

"The hardest thing is being a wahine in this industry.

"Some males prefer not to have their hair cut by a woman, they say oh you're a girl, you're a hairdresser, straight away.

"I was gonna be like oh I should just get out, but I just love it too much, and the connection I made with our class was just really good and I could see that some of our boys needed a bit of a push.”

Nick Taukiri (Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto) was one of the other 160 or so graduates that attended the sold-out event. For him, receiving his qualification, had sentimental value. 

"My nana, she has always been there every step of the way, she has always been there for me and believed in me.”

Eisha Teiho with tutors and members of her class. Source / File

Being in operation for 50 years, Cut Above Academy caters for a range of different creative outlets in the style and fashion industry.

The programme has created avenues in which its graduates can receive their qualification, in a realistic and affordable manner.

"Because cut above has such a creative element to it, it really engages our Pasifika and Māori students.

So with our level 2 programmes.... which are free programmes for 16-19-year-olds, we can then staircase them through to barbering and other opportunities and work placement. 

For Teiho, who worked for most of her time out of the pop-up store in Manukau, Cut Above made sense as the best pathway to her tohu. 

It's such a mission especially as a solo parent with two kids to get to the city so as soon as I saw it the vibe at Cut Above is mean! 

Read More:

Rangatahi barbers - A "Cut Above" the rest.