MPTT Auckland is now five years old, which means more and more of our tauira (trainees) are getting qualified and making their mark on the workforce. To kick off a new year and a new decade, we caught up with three MPTT tauira to find out what they’re up to now. Be inspired by where their trade has already taken them, plus find out what their goals are for 2020 and how learning a trade has given them more options in life.
Chris Lautua
Apprenticeship Coordinator, The Electrical Training Company (ETCO)
When we last interviewed Chris Lautua back in 2016, he’d recently finished his pre-trades electrical course at MIT and landed an apprenticeship. The 33-year-old has now found a way to combine his love of electrical with his passion for helping others.


Chris Latua (left) when he was working as an apprentice in 2016
What are you doing now?

I started my electrical apprenticeship with Dickson Gray Electrical, where I focused on commercial and industrial projects, and finished it with Shaolin Electrical. While I enjoyed my time at Dickson Gray, I went to help a friend in his business (Shaolin Electrical) while learning the residential scene of the industry. This had many enjoyable challenges, and I finished my apprenticeship and became a registered sparky this year.

I’ve recently taken on the role of Apprenticeship Coordinator at The Electrical Training Company (ETCO). I originally wanted to travel for a bit after my registration, but this opportunity to work with young people while still being in the industry was an opportunity too good to turn down.

So, the travel plans have been cut shorter (my wife and I took a trip to Europe in December/January). However, I’m loving the opportunity to help other people in the trade. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the hands-on work, but helping others is always where my heart has been.

What are your goals for 2020?

I want to make more specific goals for health, home, work and life, so that I’m working towards something in every aspect of my life.

What do you love about having a trades career?

The trades is something you can take and do anywhere in the world. So, whatever plans pop up for me and my wife, I know I have a few things in my kitty I can rely on.

Comment from Chris’s employer, Brad Hepi, ETCO Northern Regional Manager:

Chris is a valued member of our team. He brings a lot of energy and has a great relationship with the youth of today. He comes from a place they’re just entering into. He’s been where they are now, and he’s come out the other side. He can relate to them and inspire them that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

“Chris is a live example of where you can get to. He did his time and he’s enjoying the benefits. He’s just come back from a world trip and that’s been possible for him financially because he got his qualification. If you do the mahi, you get the treats.”

Chris and his wife recently took a trip to Europe, visiting famous sights like the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Easter Isara
Furniture and Cabinet Maker, Artiture Joinery
Easter Isara, 28, has thrown herself into the trades with 100% commitment — and it’s paying off. Since studying Furniture and Cabinet Making (Level 4) at Unitec in 2016 (when she also joined an MPTT Auckland team building cyclone-resistant homes for low-income families in Fiji), Easter has set herself on a course to a successful career with heaps of opportunities.


Easter may have finished her apprenticeship, but she’s hungry to keep developing her skills.
What are you doing now?

I finished my Furniture and Cabinet Making course at Unitec in 2016. A week later, I landed myself a job at Artiture Joinery on the North Shore and I’ve been here ever since. I managed to finish my apprenticeship in two years and three months, and I got my qualification in August 2019. I have absolutely no regrets getting into a trade and I’ve been lucky enough to have met and worked alongside some awesome and supportive people at my job.

What are your goals for 2020?

I want to develop my skills some more. There’s always so much more to learn even when you think you’ve learnt it all. I’ve always dreamt of travelling around New Zealand and the world, and next year I definitely want to start. Getting my qualifications sorted was definitely the most important thing for me and, now it’s done, I can focus on spending more time with my family and friends. Taking on a mortgage for a house is also something I want to look at next year.

What do you love about having a trades career?

By going into the trades, I’ve gained a job that lets me work with my hands and challenges me every day.

Each day being a tradie is never the same and it’s never boring. I traded up from a job that pays minimum wage, no matter how much effort you put in it, to a job that pays me well. It gets better with every skill I learn and every effort I put in.

Comment from Easter’s employer, Taryn Leathem, Artiture Joinery General Manager – Operations:

Prior to starting with us, Easter had completed a Furniture & Cabinet Making course at Unitec, which was a great lead into her position with us. It enabled her to progress through her apprenticeship quite quickly. At Artiture, our team and culture is really important to us and Easter has really brought into that.

Commercial shopfitting can be really hard work. We often need to work longer hours than usual and Easter’s the first person to put her hand up and say ‘Yep, I’m here’. I can always count on Easter; she’s incredibly reliable and an important member of our team. She’s fully qualified now and has picked up some great skills along the way.

“I’m really proud of what she’s achieved and, moving forward, her skills will continue to grow. Easter’s career path through joinery can take her anywhere.”

Toni Rhind
Mechanical Engineering Apprentice, KiwiRail
Toni Rhind, 28, completed her pre-trades course at Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2018. She’s gone from strength to strength, being recognised for her excellent mahi by winning NZ Steel Apprentice of the Year in 2019. We spoke to Toni a year ago, and caught up with her again recently to ask a few questions.


Toni Rhind
Toni has her sights set on finishing her apprenticeship as soon as possible.
What are you doing now?

I’m doing my Mechanical Engineering (Level 4) qualification with KiwiRail. I recently finished working with Pacific Steel. At KiwiRail, I’ve had to learn new skills but I thoroughly enjoy and love working with a supportive team of blokes who are able to teach me the ropes and allow me to further my knowledge within this industry.

What are your goals for 2020?

My goals for 2020 would definitely have to be to smash out the theory side of my apprenticeship by April 2020. Although I’d love to finish my apprenticeship, I still have a few more hours I will need to complete, which may take a year and a bit.

What do you love about having a trades career?

I’ve traded up to a job that is constantly challenging me mentally and physically.

I love challenging myself and proving that I can do what men can do as well.

Being able to have more opportunities and more career choices within a trade qualification is something you’ll always see in the trades.

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