Graduate Profile

Chynna Haney - Deck-hand on R Tucker Thompson
Chynna Haney, and Stuart Birnie (Employer)

Chynna Haney, and Stuart Birnie (Employer)

Chynna Haney - Eco Tourism

Deck-hand on R Tucker Thompson

“My job as deck-hand on the R Tucker Thompson is a perfect combination of what I love and what our course trained us for. R Tucker Thompson is a traditional square rigged sailing ship used for Northland youth training for 13-18 year olds in the winter and tourist trips in the summer. I love the range of work we do.”

“As a deck-hand we look after all the lines and work on the deck. We also teach the youth trainees about the marine and coastal environment introducing them to things like fishing restrictions and Project Island Song, plus we do the cooking for the trips. There are three deck-hands on each trip and we all share all of the tasks.”

“Before getting into the NorthTec course I volunteered in a dolphin centre in Australia and worked on dolphin boats so I knew I wanted to work on the water. In the course we learned to sail and covered the basic sailing principles, we got the opportunity to get our boat-masters ticket but I haven’t passed that yet, we got our VHF radio ticket, we learned a lot of DOC environmental info, and we learned how to write good CVS and do job interviews. All of that is relevant to my job now.”

“When I get my boat-masters ticket, my next step is to get my Skippers ticket through the R Tucker Thompson so I can get a full-time job on the water. I love the people we get to meet and I love that I learn something every single day. Three of the trainees in our last trip, for example, grew up on the water and most of the tourists that come with us have been sailing before so I learn from them too. I look forward to getting more experience on the R Tucker Thompson and see where that leads me.”


Employer of Chynna Haney

Stuart Birnie - General Manager of R Tucker Thompson

“Chynna started with R Tucker Thompson in late 2016 as one of four crew, each employed for two trips out of three that the boat goes on. We also employ two skippers.”

“During the summer Chynna’s job as deckhand is to support our summer tourist operation. This involves providing teas and lunches, serving alcohol and doing bar reconciliation, all the deck work and some boat handling. After the summer we have youth development for Northland youth in the winter. Chynna’s job then is all of the same ship operations, minus the bar and customer service, plus helping to facilitate the training. She also learns and uses maintenance skills during our six week maintenance period starting in August.”

“Aspects of the NorthTec course are a real match for what we develop throughout our training, and the crew actively model all aspects of eco adventure including safety. The youth are put through a range of activities and they all find they are good at some things and not good at others. They learn to handle difficult situations with no family or friends and no electronics, so it’s a huge life-changing experience for them. They come through it with a big increase in self-esteem.”

“Chynna is a great fit for the job partly because of her personality but also because of the relevance of her NorthTec training. She’s used to facilitating, knows how to plan something, can explain it to the trainees, and then runs it. It was apparent when she came on board that she did so with a leg-up already. She’s also cheerful and enthusiastic and keen to get into the water with the trainees while still being aware of safety issues. The numerous other tickets from the course are competencies that directly contribute to what we are doing.”

“This is the first time I’ve employed a NorthTec graduate but I am a huge fan of polytechs.  I’ve worked with polytechs, universities and wananga, and I like how polytech courses are vocational and guided closely by the allied industry.”

“We are quite selective with our job ads and we offer rich on-the job training in a huge range of skills that are acknowledged by employers in our field. R Tucker Thompson crew and skippers have gone on to some interesting careers and experiences, and I’m sure that Chynna will too.”