EIT graduate Peter embraces his new life

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

5 mins ago

Peter Whalley has never shied away from accepting new challenges. In reward of his commitment, the passionate long-distance runner is now graduating with a Master of Health Science with Distinction. Shortly after submitting his thesis he decided on a big move to the bottom of the South Island.

Peter grew up in Rotorua as the youngest of four. “Our family was one of the real outdoorsy ones. We loved tramping and camping, and we spent a lot of time at the lake, in the forest, and at the beach.” Both parents were very sporty and introduced their children to all kinds of sports.

Straight out of high school Peter joined the army and completed a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise at Massey University sponsored by the army. He trained as an officer at the New Zealand Officer Cadet School in Waiouru and worked on site as an Operations Officer coordinating medical support for army training exercises and operations.

After the devastating cyclone that hit Fiji in 2016, he was sent there as a Health Liaison Adviser to plan health logistics and to manage environmental health issues that affected the army personnel.   

As life goes however, Peter had fallen in love with a woman from Hawke’s Bay, Erica. He left the army in 2017 to move to Napier and to brush up his skills at EIT. “I thought that studying Health Science would open up new career perspectives.”

Shortly after taking up his studies he started to work part-time as a sports coordinator at Flaxmere College and then as a health and fitness tutor at EIT’s Trades Academy. “My scope was to introduce the students to work in a gym environment. I got a good insight into how challenging teaching is,” says 27-year-old Peter.

He very much enjoyed his year at EIT. “It was easy to establish relationships with our lecturers and to get in contact with fellow students.”

In his thesis, Peter compared the different forms of caffeine supplements – chewing gums, tablets and dissolvable strips – on running performance. “I really enjoyed carrying out the research. All of EIT’s staff were super helpful. I could even use the wine lab for my tests.”

His supervisor, Dr Carl Paton is full of praise for his straight-A-student. “His thesis is an excellent piece of work and I’m confident that it will fly through and get published in an international journal.”

For now however, it’s all about getting settled into his new life. Peter recently accepted a job offer as a health promotion adviser at the Southern District Health Board in Invercargill. The couple found a nice house and was surprised how much cheaper it is to rent compared to Hawke’s Bay.

“We will probably not get a lot of sun down here,” Peter says with a smile on his face, “but there is plenty of outdoor stuff to do. I went for a surf in January, and everyone wore warm wetsuits and boots. That was pretty astonishing.”

“I’m really happy to be in the work-force again and to apply my knowledge in both sports and health science to my new role.” Peter will probably need another set of warm clothes, a warm wetsuit, and a good raincoat. 


Networks an asset in new role

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

Waata Shepherd

From humble beginnings milking cows on the family farm at Whangaparoa, former Gisborne District Police Commander Superintendent Waata Shepherd is extending his career in another field. He talks to Marianne Gillingham . . .

Waata Shepherd has been appointed campus manager at EIT Tairāwhiti, replacing Wayne Spence, who retired this month.

Campus director Jan Mogford said he was selected from a strong pool of about 30 applicants, for his strong leadership skills and his background in financial and resource management.

Waata joined EIT in 2018, after retiring from the Police. He was invited to teach EIT’s services career pathway programme, for young people considering a career in the police, emergency or armed services.

The programme was a huge success, with the first repeat of the six-month course this year fully-subscribed, and places rapidly filling for the next intake in July.

Waata saw it as a way of giving something back to what he says has been a fantastic career path, and also an opportunity to work with promising young people. He found it really inspiring and says he will miss the direct contact with students.

But he believes he can contribute even more at a managerial level, using his networks, particularly in the Maori community, to help extend those of EIT.

Of Whanau a Apanui, Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahu descent, Waata Shepherd was born and bred at Whangaparoa (Cape Runaway), the fourth youngest in a family of 12 children. He grew up on the family farm, where the family ran dairy cows and grew their own vegetables, fruit and pork and made their own butter. His mother baked their own bread.

At the time Waata did not realise how hard they worked in those days. Waking up at 5am to milk the cows before heading to school, and returning to milk them again after school, plus attending to the many jobs on the farm, was accepted as just normal farming life.

Reflecting now, that sort of work could be considered hard work, all done manually without any of the technological and mechanical advances present today. But hard work stood them all in good stead. All the children went to boarding school, only two with scholarships; the cream cheques from milking the cows paid for the education that his parents valued.

The girls went to Queen Victoria Māori Girls’ School in Parnell and Waata and his brothers went to Hato Petera College on Auckland’s North Shore.

After leaving school Waata joined the Police, rising steadily through the ranks, predominantly in the Criminal Investigation Branch. He started in Rotorua, then was promoted to South Auckland, to Gisborne as a Senior Sergeant in 1992 before being appointed as Area Commander in South Taranaki in 1999. In 2002, he became Area Commander for the Gisborne District.

After leaving Gisborne in 2009, Waata went to Manly, Sydney, to join the Australian Institute of Police Management to deliver leadership programmes for all Australian State Police Services, NZ Police and Police jurisdictions across the Pacific.

He stayed there a year before returning to New Zealand where he was appointed to the rank of Superintendent at Police National Headquarters in Wellington working as the Executive Director of the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police working with 21 Police Commissioners across the Pacific with building capacity across their jurisdictions.

After 38 years in the force, Waata says he still misses aspects of the job, especially the camaraderie, but still stays in touch with his many former colleagues.

He likes to keep busy and active, being a self-confessed “gym junkie” when he’s not working or spending time with his family.

Waata and his wife Mereaira have three children and four grandchildren, most of them in Gisborne. He still enjoys going back home to the farm at Whangaparoa, where his sister is principal of Te Kura Mana Maori o Whangaparaoa.

Thanks to her and his parents’ influence, numerous members of the family, including two of his children and himself, are now involved in the education sector.

Waata takes up his new position early next month, allowing time for the appointment and induction of his replacement.


A large shot of adrenaline inspires EIT tutor

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

8 mins ago

EIT Te reo Māori tutor Nadine McKinnon enjoying a rest day at Loch Laird during the Alps2Ocean Challenge

The thought of traversing across the South Island on foot might not be everybody’s idea of a holiday in the wilds, but for EIT Te Reo Māori tutor Nadine McKinnon it was nirvana.

Last year she decided to enter this year’s Alps2Ocean adventure race thinking it would give her a goal to keep up her spirits while overcoming an injury.

Despite the fact that her injuries limited the amount of training she could do Nadine managed to run, walk and shuffle, from the base of Mount Cook to Oamaru, a 323 kilometre journey past lakes, over hills and alongside rivers to the Pacific Ocean.

Along the way she learned a new meaning for team work, as she and her running companions encouraged each other through tough times to the finish line.

Day one was a relatively cruisy 50km to warm into the event, with not many climbs. This was almost disappointing for Nadine, who thrives on climbing steep hill country, but the scenery was spectacular. Nadine’s hip started hurting on the flat parts, which at that stage followed rough gravel roads. That afternoon she found her partner’s compression pants in her 16kg pack which helped her to continue the following day.

Day before start- camp site

Each night when they reached their destination, the volunteers had their tents up and their packs waiting. All they had to do for dinner was add hot water to their meals, in Nadine’s case, dehydrated vegetarian ones which was all she could find in Gisborne.

“Some of the others had bought theirs online and they looked delicious.”

Packing her bag had been one of the greatest challenges. Enough food for eight days, plus two sets of clothes and bedding which all had to weigh under 16 kgs.

The second day was 50km from Lake Pukaki to Lake Middleton. They traversed spectacular scenery around Twizel with some local salmon tasting thrown in. The waters of Lake Middleton were inviting for a swim on arrival to camp.

The next stage, from Lake Middleton to Loch Laird was the longest one, covering 86 km and two mountains, one 836 metres high. But they had two days to do this and Nadine did it in 16 hours, which meant she had a day off.

“We got in around midnight but that gave us the next day to rest, swim and wash our clothes.”

The fifth day was Nadine’s favourite and included some more substantial hill climbs.

The Alps to Ocean crew- Mt Cook airport – Day before race day

“It was amazing,” said Nadine, whose favourite activity is scrambling up hills.

“It’s my happy place, “ she says, grinning.

Having grown up near the Blue Mountains in Australia, and Mt Hikurangi being her home maunga, she always feels more comfortable in the hills and mountains, she says.

The following day Nadine’s Achilles tendon had started to play up and one of her other travelling mates had serious blisters, while two others were also starting to show signs of wear.

“We just cruised along together,” she said.

With another 52 kms under their belts, they only had the final day to cover, which was only 28kms, mostly downhill.

“It was a sprint – everyone just took off.”

On finishing, everyone in her group was exhausted but feeling elated.

For Nadine, the whole event was more about finishing than winning and it was also about team work, supporting and encouraging each other.

“It was really cool watching everybody coming in. The last person was so exhausted we all formed a guard of honour.

“I formed so many bonds with so many people – it was incredible.

“And the race director and volunteers were always there, cheering us on – they were there before we got up and after we finished – they were just amazing,” she said.

“It was the best holiday I have ever had!”

The main thing she got from it was learning how to live in the moment to overcome pain and fear of what lay ahead.

“It’s all about staying in the moment and is a great form of meditation.”

My tent mate- Sarah Grimes .

Included in the race were activities such as abseiling, jet boating and a helicopter ride.

On returning home, her partner Porter competed in the Maunga to Moana Challenge in the Waiapu, which is another event that Nadine would like to have a crack at next year, especially as Hikurangi is her maunga.

Her whole mission is to one day become a mountain guide for her people on Mount Hikurangi.

“I enjoyed studying the kōrero from our maunga whilst training for the event and I want to continue this study to share with others.”


Her brother’s death changed Samantha’s look upon life

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

10 mins ago

“I nearly fell over and I definitely shed some happy tears,” says Samantha Smith, about the moment when she found out that she was this year’s Margaret Hetley scholarship winner. “It took a couple of days to sink in,” the EIT Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) student says with a big smile.

The scholarship was named in memory of Mrs Margaret Hetley, who gifted the EIT campus to the Hawke’s Bay community. The scholarship supports women undertaking tertiary study and commemorates the centennial anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement.

Being a dynamic, mature and strong-minded women, the 30-year-old does the scholarship credit.

Samantha’s life hasn’t always been a straight road. She admits that she had struggled at school and started working in hospitality when she was 17. Being young and independent, she enjoyed working late hours, until eight years ago a tragic event turned her life around.

Samantha can pinpoint the horrible moment, when she was told that her brother took his life only two days after he had turned 20. Samantha says, that with his death she lost part of herself. “Rebuilding who I was became part of the grieving process. Today I use his legacy as motivation. I don’t want someone to die, feeling as alone as he felt.”

In 2014, when she enrolled at EIT in a social services certificate, she didn’t think she had the ability to gain more than a level 3 qualification. “I was torn between one part of me, saying that I was not smart enough and the other part, pushing me further.” It turned out that Samantha excelled and passed exam after exam. She had her moments of self-doubt but always pulled herself together.

“I have a huge passion in advocating for vulnerable people and children. This is why social work is part of who I am to the core,” she says.  Samantha is a real people’s person. She is chatty, energetic and interested in everybody around her. For two and half years Samantha was employed by Oranga Tamariki – Ministry of Children as a family home reliever.

Due to night shifts she spent a lot of time away from her husband Whelan and her sons Graham, 11 and Max, 6 but still thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “I grew a lot as a professional and at the same time I was able to apply my academic knowledge into the role,” Samantha says.

Now, Samantha is back studying and she is willing to see it through. “I’m immensely grateful to be awarded the scholarship as it covers the extra tuition fees and funds the research that I have to undertake this year.”

“I’m so happy because I’m finally changing my life.”


Stuart Nash sharing insights with EIT students

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

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2 mins ago

Labour MP for Napier and cabinet minister Stuart Nash, visited EIT on Thursday and talked to the advanced taxation class students to pass on some interesting facts about his work as Minister of Revenue. 

“I’m happy to share my knowledge and to add value to the students‘ experience,” he said and expressed an open invitation to other lecturers who might like him to share his knowledge on campus.

Mr Nash pointed out that he is a huge believer in the value of education. Mr Nash, who holds three master degrees and an array of postgrad qualifications, says that he might have gone a little bit over the top with accumulating qualifications. However, studying different subjects gave him a good in-depth understanding in a variety of areas.

 “Academic qualifications get you a foot in the door and then it’s up to you to make the most out of it. You get a level of expertise that allows you to be knowledgeable in an area which you think is important,” said Mr Nash.

“You have to have something, a certificate, a diploma or a degree, that shows that you have learned some skills that help take you anywhere in life.”

Mr Nash said he is and always was a huge fan of EIT. “EIT delivers in a really good way. People can train here without leaving Hawke’s Bay, the community gets the benefit of a lot of the programmes and international students bring vibrancy and colour. From an enonomic perspective EIT is hugely important. There is no downside to having EIT in Hawke’s Bay,” Mr Nash said.

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Overwhelming response to the 2019 ITP Research Symposium to be hosted at EIT

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

5 mins ago

The 2019 ITP Research symposium focussed on Whanaungatanga  – Community-Centred Research will be co-hosted by Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) and Otago Polytechnic on 15-16 April 2019 at the EIT campus in Taradale. This year’s symposium is shaping up to be the largest yet, both in number of presentations and in numbers of delegates expected. 

Pippa McKelvie-Sebileau, Research Manager at EIT and part of the organising committee said there has been an overwhelming response since the call for abstracts:  “We received over 85 abstracts for presentations and 20 proposals for artworks from researchers all over the country. We currently have more than 165 delegates registered to attend and registrations are still open, ” says Pippa.

All 15 research-active Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITP) are represented in the programme focussing on the tangible impacts of Community-Centred research. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase how strong we are at working together across the sector and that research in ITPs is alive and well,” says Pippa McKelvie-Sebileau.

Three internationally-recognised speakers will present keynotes: Hörður Torfason, a human rights campaigner and “artivist” from Iceland who will discuss social activism and leadership. Torfason will speak alongside Sally J Morgan, Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts at Massey University, and Associate Professor Carla Houkamau, from the Department of Management and International Business at the University of Auckland.

This is the first time that the symposium will be held at EIT Hawke’s Bay and presentations will cover four key themes: Community Health and Wellbeing, Inspired Teaching and Learning, Engaged Arts and Sustainable Environments.

A key thread within each of the streams is kaupapa Māori research and the symposium has been granted generous funding by the New Zealand Māori Centre for Research Excellence (Ngā Pae of Te Māramatanga).

Each presentation represents an example of applied, community-based research. The topics range from public bike-sharing systems, cultural competency in the medical profession, the Campylobacter outbreak in Havelock North and waste minimisation, to Kapa Haka as a pedagogical instrument.

One highlight of the symposium will be a concert by EIT Professor Matthew Marshall (guitar) with Tessa Petersen (violin) alongside Heleen du Plessis (cello), narrated by Dame Kate Harcourt and Sir Jon Trimmer. The concert is taking place at Napier’s MTG on Monday, 15 April at 7.30pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend the concert. The cost is $10 per person, payable at the door. 

EIT will be showcasing sustainable event management practices for the symposium, operating on a paper-free low waste basis. The name tags for instance, will be made from wildflower seed paper.

The symposium  is open to the public and free to attend. Online registration closes on Friday, 29 March: http://itpresearch.ac.nz/2019-symposium/registration-itp-symposium-2019/.


Celebrating innovative minds

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

Congratulations to Leon and Robyn Stallard.  They are the winners of the Horticentre Hawke’s Bay Horticulturist of the Year, awarded last night at the A&P Primary Industry Awards last night.

EIT is the sponsor of the field day to be held in May which will showcase the expertise of the Stallard’s on their property.


Tairāwhiti join forces to keep EIT nimble to local needs

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

1 min ago

Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon has joined with Hawke’s Bay leaders to lobby the Government to ensure that the Eastern Institute of Technology remains nimble to meet the skills needs of local employers.

Under the Government’s Review of Vocation Education (ROVE) proposal all 16 of the country’s polytechnics and institutes of technology will be incorporated into one national skills and training entity.

In a joint submission, the five mayors across Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay plus the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council chairman, say they welcome the Government’s recognition that business, industry, iwi and local government need to play an active role in driving the skills development and social outcomes for their communities.

They do, however, have concerns that a highly centralised decision-making entity will not enable the kind of responsiveness needed. “The region’s stakeholders need to be directly involved in co-designing solutions that work for our people rather than having models imposed on us” the submission states.

The leaders believe the proposed new structure needs to support what the region is already doing well, makes sure the transition is well-managed, and that the changes deliver better outcomes for the people of Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay.

EIT was a trusted partner, deeply integrated into the various regional development strategies in place for Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay, the submission states. The institute had created new school-industry partnerships, promoted sustainable value-added horticulture and a cutting-edge apiculture sector, strengthened the tourism workforce and local skill development.

Steve Breen from Activate Tairāwhiti says he “absolutely supports regionally-based and directed training provision. We need to be able to manage and determine the mix of skills we need so our workforce can develop.

“EIT is extremely well placed to supply skills and training that is work-based so our people don’t need to leave the region to develop their careers and futures. The institute is closely connected with employers and our communities and can judge not just the here and now opportunities but also where we’re going, what the future of work will be for our young people.”

CEO of Tairāwhiti Chamber of Commerce, Terry Sheldrake acknowledges EIT as a significant employer and describes the tertiary institute as “community glue”.

“EIT brings opportunities for youth and adult students to upskill and reach employment. Lots of students don’t have the opportunity for university, particularly those isolated up our coast. I would hate to see us lose out on something that has worked successfully for a long time. They have a great track record.”

Nori Parata is chairman of the Ngāti Porou Principals’ Association and principal of Tolaga Bay Area School. She says that EIT had been very responsive and flexible in meeting the needs of the East Coast schools’ students.

“Working in collaboration, we’ve been able to co-design the Trades Academy model for Tairāwhiti. It’s really the only vocational education that we have, and it’s made our isolation disappear. It provides a tertiary pathway for our students.”

She notes that nowhere else in the country would there be students that travel five hours a day once a week to attend such an opportunity to be given careers exposure. This includes an agriculture academy that was specifically set up to satisfy both student and employers needs locally.

The joint submission also notes that within the ROVE proposal there is a commitment to locate the centralised functions of the new system in one or more of the regions.

In response, the local body leaders state that the Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay regions had the appropriate capabilities to host one or more of these functions. They are looking forward to discussing how they can support the success of the new entity with Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins.

Submissions to the proposal were due by 27 March but the deadline has been extended until 5 April as a consequence of the recent terror attack and the need for ministerial input in related matters.

Members of the public can also make submissions in a variety of ways. More information can be found on www.eit.co.nz/about/reform-of-vocational-education/


Annual Report 2018 highlights EIT’s strong performance

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

16 mins ago

EIT has released its Annual Report for 2018 today, highlighting a year of growth from one of New Zealand’s leading institutes of technology.

The report features strong educational performance with a 94 percent student programme satisfaction rate and an 84 percent course completion rate at Level 4 and above.

In 2018 EIT registered the highest number of students in its history with 4,794 equivalent full-time students (EFTS) and 10,325 individual students in total, 1000 more compared to 2017.

More domestic students than ever before chose to study where it suited them, including more online learning and studying in remote community locations and at regional learning centres. A new expanded regional learning centre in Hastings was opened in 2018 and has become an important place of delivery. A map in the report highlights the extensive off-campus delivery outreach EIT has within its communities, such as on farms and marae.

“EIT had another very strong and high performing year across multiple fronts, this, at a time when many institutions in the tertiary sector have been struggling,” says chief executive, Chris Collins. Despite the down turn in student numbers elsewhere, the student numbers at EIT have grown in both domestic (EFTS 4,122 up from 3,999) and international students numbers (EFTS 672 up from 519).

Alongside growth in student numbers, EIT is financially strong, with net assets of $ 152 million and no debt. Our campuses and regional learning centres compare favourably in the sector.  Over the past five years government funding has fallen from 62 to 57 percent of revenue. Despite the size of this challenge EIT reported a net surplus once again, albeit small. Mr Collins noted that in 44 years EIT has never made a loss.

The report also documents EIT’s staff supporting priority learners such as Māori, Pasifika and under 25-year-olds, including NEET youth (not in education, employment, or training). Achievement for Māori students was strong and rates have hit new record levels. In 2018, half of EIT’s domestic equivalent full-time students were Māori, and in Tairāwhiti, 76 percent, one of the highest levels of Māori participation in the NZ tertiary education sector.  

The report notes EIT’s strong collaboration with other New Zealand ITPs. Furthermore it provides an overview of the broad variety of applied research for industry which is carried out at EIT.

The report also covers EIT’s other strong links with local industry which ensured that once again students in 2018 were offered more work placements, internships and opportunities to learn “outside the classroom”. At the same time the active collaboration between EIT, business, community and industry helped in developing an array of new innovative programmes and pathways.

“It is the staff and network of community, business and industry support which makes EIT the success it is today,” says Mr Collins.


Gisborne social workers acknowledge Christchurch at EIT gathering

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

8 mins ago

Seeking to demonstrate professional unity – some of the social workers and social work students who gathered at EIT this week to mark World Social Workers Day.

Gisborne social workers acknowledged the impact of the tragic Christchurch massacre on the victims and their families at a gathering at EIT this week.

EIT social work lecturer Sarah Elliott said that in coming together to acknowledge their profession for World Social Workers Day, their hearts were going out to the Christchurch community and enormous amount of suffering unleashed there.

She also paid tribute to their Canterbury colleagues, acknowledging the huge workload they faced in the days, weeks and months ahead helping people to work through grief and trauma.

The theme for World Social Work Day was “Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships.”

In the words of Aotearoa NZ Association of social workers president Sally Dalhousie, social workers knew well that connectivity and relationships between people could play a major role in changing the lives of people who had been marginalised, were experiencing isolation.

“We are standing in unity working toward social justice,” Sarah Elliott told the lunch gathering.

The group included EIT social work degree students and social workers from a broad spectrum of Gisborne groups providing social support. They included those working for Hauora Tairāwhiti in areas such as grief counselling, oncology, family violence and child protection. Others worked as social workers in schools, intellectual disability and organisations such as Te Hapara Whānau Aroha Centre and Te Pa Harakeke (Tairāwhiti Children’s Team). Introducing themselves, they all spoke of a passion for working with people, and a desire to make a difference, particularly for those who were vulnerable.

Many of them were past students and later graduates of EIT.

Sarah Elliott told them that as a lecturer, she wanted to inspire the social workers of tomorrow.

At a time of national sorrow, the work and professional practices of social workers was highlighted more than ever.