The campus director of Tairawhiti Polytechnic in Gisborne says there's been huge interest by Maori school leavers from as far north as Te Araroa in taking up trades courses this year.
The number of courses available has increased substantially following a merger a year ago between the polytech and the Napier-based Eastern Institute of Technology.
Jan Mogford says the new Trade Academy in Gisborne, which opened a couple of weeks ago, has been a run away success.
She says 60 places were initially on offer but because of a huge demand it ended up accepting 97 students.
Ms Mogford says some students from the East Coast are travelling for three hours to get to and from classes, which is a massive commitment.
She says all places in the trades courses, which include automative engineering, carpentry, fashion and catering have been filled by young Maori.