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.


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.


Services Pathway programme fully subscribed – next intake July

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

1 min ago

Services Pathway students with tutor Waata Shepherd going through vertical jump exercises which is part of the PAT test (police assessment test) .

An EIT programme for people wanting to join the police, fire service or armed services is fully subscribed, with a waiting list for the next intake in July.

The 19-week, full-time Services Pathway certificate programme is led by former Gisborne District Police Commander, Superintendent Waata Shepherd, who has a strong interest in youth leadership.

The programme covers a full range of pre-entry skills training, including literacy, numeracy, computing, communication and physical fitness. It also covers work-life skills such as presentation, dealing with stress and leadership.

Following the level 3 certificate programme, Mr Shepherd is able to use his professional networks to help arrange work experience for students seeking to apply for a service career.

There are a maximum of 16 positions in each programme. There were 32 applications for the current programme, which started on February 11 and ends on June 19.

 The second programme this year runs from July to November , which most of the remaining applicants are taking up.

Most of the students are school leavers and almost half are women.

Of the 16 students, 12 are interested in a police career, two in the army, one in the navy and one undecided between the police and the army. 

Of the 14 students who completed the programme last semester, most are now going through the recruitment process, which in the police force, can take three months or more.

One is now in the army, another has had his final acceptance for police training and one is nearly in the Fire Service.

Waata Shepherd takes a personal interest into tracing each student’s progress following their graduation, mentoring and supporting them to help them through what can be an extended recruitment process.

After 38 years in the police service, he views it as a way of giving something back to what was for him a fantastic career.


The Māori language is on a roll in this district, if enrolments at EIT are anything to go by.

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

11 mins ago

Karen Albert (Student Support Advisor) at Te Whatukura

Numbers at EIT’s Te Whatukura School of Māori Studies in Tūranganui a Kiwa and at EIT’s Ruatoria learning centre have reached the point where the institute is having to beef up resources at both centres.

The number of enrolments for part time studies has increased by nearly a third this year, following a similar increase last year.

As well the numbers studying fulltime are also growing steadily, with a big uptake for the new Level 5 Diploma, which is the first part of the three year degree.

Numbers enrolled for evening classes in Tūranganui a Kiwa were so great this year that the class had to be split, said lecturer Maria Wynyard.

“We used to have one evening class a week on Wednesday and now we have them on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,” she said.

In Ruatoria the newly-introduced classes in te reo Māori were full. The number of enrolments was growing by the week with people traveling from Te Araroa and Ihungia to Tokomaru Bay to take part.

“Our campus carpark has been full because of it – people are wanting to learn their own language. We have got teachers, mothers and hauora workers, and some older people who grew up in the days when speaking te reo was discouraged.

“These people can listen to it competently but speaking it is a different story,” said Maria.

“Our job is to break down those barriers and they are learning very quickly.”

Maria Wynyard is working with te reo tutor Ngaire Keelan to teach the Ruatoria classes, travelling to Gisborne two days a week to teach on the degree programme at Te Whatukura.

EIT was in the process of recruiting another Māori language tutor to join the existing team of seven.

In Gisborne students taking up te reo Māori studies were largely Pakeha, but included all ethnicities, including Asian and South American.

Some were teachers or Government workers who had taken a year’s sabbatical leave to learn the language.

Lecturers were starting to see students progressing their studies to degree level, including one teacher who was combining her studies with fulltime work.

EIT staff are using modern second language learning technologies, modified by the late Ngoi Pewhairangi – a prominent Māori language and culture educator from Tokomaru Bay – for local use.

“We do everything we can to recruit and retain the most qualified and experienced staff,” says Maria.

“They are achieving faster learning te reo Māori students using New Age methods.”

She believes there has been a shift in many workplaces to embrace te reo as part of their culture, encouraging staff to learn conversational Māori and greetings and use them in every day business.

There has been a similar resurgence in Hawke’s Bay, where EIT has been asked to teach te reo Māori courses for the Hastings District Council.


Esteemed guest Dr Elizabeth Kerekere at EIT Tairāwhiti Campus

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

12 mins ago

From left to right: Cherie Te Rore (lecturer with Leisa Apanui – Biddle, Diana Matere, Averline Maxwell, Barry Hovell, Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, Renata Wawatai, Carol Watson, Kylee Grant and, Caroline Koia. Also present was Fepaki Koka.

Students of the Health and Wellbeing programme (Advanced Support, Level 4). were inspired by a workshop with leading Rainbow rights campaigner Dr Elizabeth Kerekere.

As part of their studies in cultural diversity and collaboration, students were able to hear first-hand about Dr Kerekere’s work in providing leadership for the health and wellbeing of takatāpui and youth throughout the motu (nation).

Her work involves giving speeches, running workshops and training, conducting research, making resources available and mentoring youth leaders.

She spoke to students about the impact of colonisation which suppressed takatāpui identity, and the resultant issues that still impact on takatāpui health and well-being today.

Dr Kerekere also talked about the ways in which takatāpui identity is strengthened, in building resilience and connection.

In 2017Dr Kerekere completed her PhD thesis entitled ‘Part of The Whānau: The Emergence of Takatāpui Identity – He Whāriki Takatāpui’.

Of Ngāti Oneone, Te Aitanga a Māhaki, Whānau a Kai, Rongowhakaata and Ngāi Tāmanuhiri descent, Dr Kerekere is an artist, a scholar, and an activist within the LGBTIQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and more) community. She travels extensively throughout Aotearoa and the world, advocating for takatāpui and Rainbow rights.

Dr Kerekere told students she had more than 25 flights and over 50 speaking engagements booked from now until the end of May this year.

“We were deeply honoured to be the first group in Gisborne to have the benefit of hearing about her life’s work and passion, since she moved home nine years ago,” said health and wellbeing lecturer Cherie Te Rore.

As well as being a scholar, Dr Kerekere is a specialist in strategic planning, policy development and project management and an artist, having her work exhibited internationally.

She is founder and chair of Tīwhanawhana Trust – supporting takatāpui well-being – and sits on the boards of LAGANZ (Rainbow and Lesbian Archives of New Zealand) and the Human Rights Commission.  Among her many community interests, she has been part of the ‘It’s Not OK’ Campaign”.


Supporting students all the way

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

7 mins ago

Student support advisor Kiri Dickinson

Supporting any EIT students who need help with obstacles to learning is the mission of newly-appointed EIT  student support advisor Kiri Dickinson.

Kiri has joined a team of five whose role is to be there for students, and provide support and advice to help them overcome anything that might stand in the way of their learning success.

This can range from budgeting, keeping up with classes, reading, writing, maths, computer technology involved in studies, to transport, accommodation or a variety of other problems.

Their job is to listen, identify the problems and put students in touch with resources available to help them.

Sometimes what seems like a big problem is easily resolved – other issues may take a team effort working with other agencies who are able to help.

Kiri has a big background in working with students and young people. She has been working in education for 33 years, mainly at a secondary school level but most recently at the Te Karaka Area School which covers all ages from year 1 to year 13.

She is enjoying the friendly environment at EIT where everyone has the common goal of helping the students achieve success in their chosen path.

It has always been her passion to support those who want to learn.

Kiri is no stranger to the EIT environment, having filled a one year maternity vacancy in a sports leadership programme.

She is happy to be back , especially in a support role. She will be working with students in the trades division and those who have Te Toka Scholarships. Those scholarships, provide fees-free study and extra assistance such as acquiring driver licencing to Maori and Pacifica students.  But they come with attendance obligations which Kiri can help students meet.

The student support advisors work closely with library staff, who are able to provide many extra resources to help with all fields of study.

Sometimes tutors let support advisors know if a student is having problems, but students can also come to them directly. For that reason Kiri likes spending time in the classroom getting to know the students.

“I want students to know who we are and what we do,” she said.

Later on, the advisors are also able to help newly qualified students with finding jobs, confidence and interview skills.


Manutuke kids enjoy EIT catering practice

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

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10 mins ago

Cookery programme tutor Tony Davis (rear) is all smiles as six of his students serve up fresh wraps and muffins for lunch at Manutuke School

Children at Te Kura ō Manutuke enjoyed a tasty treat when a group of EIT catering students called into the school at lunchtime.

The students were those doing a three week introductory Culinary Concepts course before entering the Level 4 cookery certificate programme, said tutor Tony Davis.

The students, who all met part of the pre-requisite requirements for the diploma programme, needed practice in catering for a large group.

It was decided to test their skills on a group of receptive diners, in this case the Manutuke school children, to build up their confidence before testing deeper waters, such as a licenced restaurant.

“It gives everybody a good first experience,” said Mr Davis.

It was certainly a good experience for the children, who enjoyed having tasty wraps and blueberry muffins served up in professional catering style.

There were smiles all round as children thanked their hosts.

Their school was one of several smaller schools invited to take part. They were selected after being the first to reply to the free lunch offer.

The full time certificate programme starts on March 4 when the six Culinary concept students will join about 14 others who have already completed their pre-entry studies.


Infrastructure training programme on track for second semester start

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

16 mins ago

Leading EIT’s new infrastructure works training programme is Clint Whitewood, a NZ Army-trained infrastructure machinery specialist

EIT has started working with the local roading sector ahead of a new infrastructure works training programme to overcome a skills shortage likely to result from a massive increase in roads funding for this region.

The programme will be part-time to cater for those already working in the industry.

Spearheading it  is former NZ Army infrastructure machinery specialist Clint Whitewood, who also has experience in youth leadership.

Originally from Gisborne, Mr Whitewood looks forward to regular visits back home, where he is working towards implementing the new programme.

He is based at EIT’s Hawke’s Bay campus, which introduced the Infrastructure Works programme last year.

He says the programme is designed to fast-track people into the roading sector, because they will be equipped with actual experience on the most commonly used machinery, such as rollers and excavators.

He says the programme is designed to provide graduates with skills, knowledge and licences so they commence their chosen career in the infrastructure industry.

Graduates of the part time course will emerge with all the essential licence endorsements, including Wheels, Tracks, Rollers, Dangerous Goods and Forklift.

On the programme they will also acquire Level 1 Traffic Control (TC) Management and First Aid Certificates.

 The qualifications are required in a variety of fields, including road construction, quarrying, traffic management, forestry, civil construction and infrastructure.

Because the programme is fees free, it will save roading contractors currently training their own unskilled recruits time and money.

“The luxury of the part-time programme is that the students already employed within the industry have the capacity to up-skill and work at the same time” says Mr Whitewood.

“It is targeted at people with good motor driving skills who will be scooped up fairly quickly with these endorsements,” he says.

The programme includes a huge emphasis on health and safety and plant and equipment maintenance which are in line with current industry-specific skills.

Anyone interested in the programme can get more information from EIT’s Gisborne office.


New Ruatoria youth programme acclaimed by government

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

1 min ago

Among those welcoming Ka Hao te Rangatira were (from left) Rakairoa Beach, Tui Warmenhoven, Davie Boyce, Raiha Parata Blane, Hinemaurea Kaiwai, Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou chairman Selwyn Parata, Employment Minister Willie Jackson, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage, Rua Te Kani, EIT Tairawhiti campus director Jan Mogford, Alamein Kaiwai, Tina Ngata, Joseph Tawhara, Charles Barrie (obscured), Marijke Warmenhoven, Arapeta Beach, Lisa Beach and DoC biodiversity ranger Joe Harawira.

A new environmental training programme being piloted near Ruatoria by EIT and various other agencies is giving young East Coast people a chance to come home and make a meaningful contribution to their community.

Arapeta Beach 17, originally from Tuparoa, and David Boyce 18, from Tokomaru Bay, are among the 10 students taking part in the inaugural six-month Ka Hao te Rangatahi programme.

Both were rapt about the opportunity to come home and were among nearly 30 people wanting to take part.

Arapeta went to high school in Gisborne and David to Naenae College in Wellington.

”We are learning how to look after the land and our trees and our awa (river),” said Arapeta.

“We are Maori and we want to give something back to the land and it’s good to come home.”

As well as learning basic land management skills, including native plant propagation, pest and disease control and riparian restoration work, the programme will teach them how to safely operate equipment such as quadbikes and chainsaws. As well they will learn about traditional medicinal uses of native plants (raroa).

“We will also be getting our learner driver licences and firearms licences,” said David.

The programme was formally launched last week by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage and Employment Minister Willie Jackson at Te Heapara Marae.

EIT Tairāwhiti campus director Jan Mogford and Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou chairman Selwyn Parata  both thanked the Ministers for enabling the programme with funding through the Provincial Growth Fund.

They also acknowledged the many organisations backing it, including the Department of Conservation, the Ministry of Social Development, Ngā Whenua Rāhui, Te Puni Kokiri, Gisborne District Council and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Tributes was paid to Kia Ora Station, for providing the use of a covenanted forest as one of the programme’s key outdoor classrooms.

Jan Mogford said EIT had been working with the East coast community for 25 years but it was the first time there had been a programme targeted specifically at rangatahi.

She said the first students would be carrying the baton for what she hoped would be the first of many such programmes.

“I look forward to following your progress.”

Willie Jackson said all governments knew that something had to be done to turn around the negative statistics relating to young people and Maori.

“We are one our way,” he said.

Although it was only a small start, the programme was part of an important strategy to get things up and running.          

“Some of these young people come from families on the drugs, or maybe have parents and grandparents who are unemployed.

“There are intergenerational problems and we can say they are because of colonisation but we can no longer use colonisation as an excuse. We can’t use it as a reason not to do anything.”

He told the students “we are backing you but you have to back yourselves.

“Stick to your Ngāti Porou side,” he said.

Eugenie Sage said the programme was one of the best initiatives her government had undertaken.

“Healing the whenua (land) is where it all starts and you the rangatahi are leading the way. It is one of the most important challenges this country faces.”

The students will receive wraparound pastoral support during their studies, and for the six months following it to best prepare them for jobs or further learning.

The next intake of students will be in  July.

*The title Ka Hao te Rangatahi takes its name from the old Maori proverb “Ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi – The old net is cast aside and the new net goes fishing”.


Making fashion into an art form

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

1 min ago

Two of EIT’s most passionate fashion design graduates are back this year to pass on their skills to other aspiring clothing designers.

Marlana “Lane” Nepe and Aisling “Ash”  McKenzie have agreed to take this year’s Level 5 Diploma in Fashion Design programme while tutor Sarah Elliott is on maternity leave.

They will be working alongside Lynette Field, who has extensive experience in the fashion industry and also specialises in sustainable practice.

It was an easy choice for Lane and Ash, as both are keen to share their passion for sustainable fashion – up-cycling op shop finds into up-to-date designs. After years of mastering the art of sewing and design, the pair have an in-depth knowledge of how garments are constructed, from an abstract concept to a well-finished piece that can be worn with pride.

They will be teaching students all of these skills, from sketching their designs and making custom-sized pattern pieces for them, to construction and finishing of their models.

By the end of the one-year programme, they are confident students will be able to mount their own fashion show.

Students are free to opt for new fabrics, although their own preference is usually to start with recycled clothes, which are often made from superior fabrics.

“People are becoming more environmentally aware,” says Ash.

Many are wanting to opt out of the cheap, almost disposable  clothing trend and create their own fashion statements.

Marlana believes dressmaking is making a comeback in Gisborne because it is a much cheaper option and personalises your own clothing.

The pair were planning to open their own boutique, specialising in up-cycled and plus-sized clothing, but put their plans on hold for a year when the opportunity arose to share their skills with others.

Meanwhile they have already notched up a few professional development courses in preparation for the new role.

“We are really excited about it all and have a rally diverse range of students coming on so will really be able to bounce off each other’s ideas,” said Ash.

Further down the track they may also be offering evening classes in Gisborne and at one or two of EIT’s regional learning centres.