1 Aug 2014

Young builders inspired

8:58 am on 1 August 2014

A group of young Maori trainee builders involved in building a new Whanau Ora health centre in Lower Hutt are benefitting from the project which will also help the local community.

Construction of a new Whanau Ora health centre at Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt

Construction of a new Whanau Ora health centre at Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt Photo: RNZ / Laura Bootham

Some of the 100 Maori Trades Training students from both WelTec and Whitereia, who are studying carpentry, plastering and other construction courses, are involved in building the health centre at Waiwhetu Marae.

Their combined efforts will make it easier for Maori and others living in the area to access healthcare in a top-notch facility.

In the 1950s carpentry and building courses were set up specifically for Maori, but they were scrapped in the 1970s.

Hunia Pohiiwi Kereopa-Maxwell who is involved in the project said building the whanau ora centre with Maori men from tribes throughout Aotearoa has been inspiring.

He said he's also using his new skills to help his whanau back home to build camp huts and spruce up the local hotel.

Taamati Moeahu of Ngati Porou and Te Ati Awa, grew up in the area and said giving something back to the community gives him a sense of pride.

The kaiwhakahaere, or Manager of Maori Development at WelTec, Hinemoa Priest, said the course has helped the young men grow and made a big difference to their lives.

The young men plan to continue their training next year and start working in the industry part time.