Hard Work Pays Off

Hohaia Brown (Ngāpuhi) turned 20 only last year. He was selected from a pool of 30 applicants to be part of the Te Mana o Whakaaro Māori Cadetship Programme.


Published: Monday, 18 January 2016 | Rāhina, 18 Kohitātea, 2016

He knows the meaning of a hard day’s work and understands that in order to earn higher wages he will need to gain as many skills possible.

“I came in knowing nothing, so anything I learn while working is a plus. It’s a big confidence booster,” Hohaia says.

When he first started with AWF he only had a learner’s driving licence but has since gained a full license along with a number of other skills and qualifications.

He has passed the Site Safe Certificate in Construction Site Safety, the Heights Safety Certificate for using fall arrest systems in a high-risk heights danger related role, the Elevated Working Platforms Certificate for using scissor lifts, truck- and trailer mounted lifting arms, self-propelled booms and cherry pickers,and the Scaffolding up to 5 Metres Certificate for erecting, assessing and dismantling scaffolding systems.

It was Hohaia’s commitment to learn as much as he could which made him a stand-out candidate for the programme. He completed the Cadetship and gained a business management qualification.

Te Puni Kōkiri Cadetships is an initiative set up to provide Māori who are new to the workforce or with low qualifications, the opportunity to gain work experience, obtain higher-level qualifications and build industry networks.

The programme involves partnering with employers in growth industries to recruit, train and mentor Māori cadets over a period of at least six months paid employment.


Hohaia now works for Ryman Healthcare as a Heavy Machine Operator, an opportunity that only presented itself after a foreman saw the young industrious 19-year-old at work.

“My bosses would let me try different machinery and saw how hard I was working and I slowly made my way up, and then was offered this role,” says Brown. “I enjoy it but I have other plans too."

During his training period he was engaged on a Construction Pathway where he gained construction related skills and qualifications.

Hohaia says that he is considering very seriously specialising in drain-laying largely “because I love the physicality of what those guys do.”

“It’s surprising to see the speed at which buildings go up. From the outside, it looks like it’s taking forever, but from inside you get to see parts of what everybody does.”

Hohaia Brown came to AWF via the Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) Programme.

LSV is a six-week hands-on motivational and training programme for young people run by the New Zealand Defence Force on behalf of Work and Income. It assists young people to improve their job prospects, increase their confidence, and make new friends while living at a military camp during the course.