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The first all-female group of learners studying at NorthTec under the Te Matarau banner graduated in front of their children and whānau at a special marae-based ceremony.
The ten hospitality students gained the New Zealand Certificate in Food and Beverage (Level 3) after working hard for six months under the watchful eye of NorthTec tutor, Sharlene Nelson.
Of these, five have chosen to study further to gain the Level 4 qualification by the end of this year. Two are going straight into employment, and a further student is actively looking for hospitality work.
The students celebrated with a ceremony held at Te Puna o Te Mātauranga marae on NorthTec’s Raumanga campus. They were based at NorthTec’s Future Trades campus in Dyer Street, Whangarei, where they gained real-world skills by working in the café, learning the tips of the trade when it comes to making the perfect cup of coffee or plate of finger food.
The students also took part in several events, including cooking at the recent Matariki Festival in Whangarei, and providing refreshments for Government Minister Louise Upston when she visited earlier this year.
Speakers for NorthTec, the Te Matarau Education Trust and Ngāti Hau Health and Social Services, which provides pastoral support to the Te Matarau students, all emphasised the value of education and the huge difference education had made to their own lives.
Congratulating the students on their achievement, Julian Rewiti from NorthTec shared his personal journey from a youngster who hated authority to a person who has attended a United Nations conference and now travels around the world speaking about the importance of education.
He urged the students to “stick with it” once they found something they found something they enjoyed and cared about. He said: “Education opens up doors. Education isn’t easy, it is hard work but there are benefits at the end of it. If this is your calling, stick with it. If it’s not your passion, then change direction – find out what is your passion and stick with it.”
Phil Alexander-Crawford, Chief Executive of Te Matarau Education Trust, congratulated the students and noted that most were going on to further study or employment. He thanked the students for their efforts, and also acknowledged tutor Sharlene Nelson, NorthTec Hospitality Programme Leader, Lisette Buckle, for all their support.
Johnny Seve from Ngāti Hau gave out special awards to two outstanding students, and told the group: “Education opens up pathways. Education empowers and opens up the mind.”
Te Matarau Education Trust is a Te Tai Tokerau Hapu-Iwi initiative involving Ngati Hau, Te Uri o Hau, Ngātiwai, Ngati Hine and Ngati Rangi, working in partnership with NorthTec to provide trades training for Maori and Pasifika learners.
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