Creating pathways for Māori and Pasifika Youth in Aviation


On March 23rd Pacific Growth together with Priority One, sponsored the Māori and Pasifika Aviation Career Expo, which was hosted by the Tauranga Aero Club, Classic Flyers. The expo was created to expose Western Bay of Plenty Māori and Pasifika secondary school students to the many areas of aviation available as a career pathway. The event brought together 178 students from sixteen different Kura, secondary schools and learning organizations. Students were able to meet and interact with other young people who are also interested in Aviation.

Numerous businesses including the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, Ringa Hora (Workforce Development Council of the Aviation Sector), Toi Kai Rawa and Pasifika in the Bay, along with industry professionals in aviation such as, JNP Aviation, Solo Wings, Airways New Zealand, Envico Technologies, Sunair, Royal Aeronautical Society, BECA, New Zealand Defence Force, Tauranga Airport and Fire and Emergency were present with exhibits to show students the many pathways available to them.

The expo was designed for the students to be able to touch, feel, smell, and fully immerse themselves in the aviation environment. They got to meet face-to-face with the different providers and familiarise themselves with aspects of various roles, along with opportunities for some hands-on engagement with tools-of-the-trade, including the Airport Rescue and Fire Fighter truck and a chance at operating a drone.

They got up-close and personal with the behind the scenes airport operations such as loading and unloading luggage, refuelling planes, and marshalling the plane to its stop position. Fire and Emergency gave a display of the inner working of their fire truck and students ran rescue drills suited in full gear. In addition, they had a go on board the NZ Defence Force Aeroplane (King Air).

The collective energy and enthusiasm from all who attended was inspiring. Students were given the opportunity to learn about and hear from the aviation industry and gain valuable insights about IT, job opportunities and training pathways. Furthermore, several businesses spoke to Ringa Hora with the aspiration of creating one training school for aviation in Tauranga Moana that will benefit the young people in our region. The Aviation industry in Tauranga is thriving and offers many unique meaningful and stimulating career paths to pursue, from ground support to air traffic control.

The outcomes from the event were positive for all involved. JNP Aviation Training is offering a new Gateway aviation micro-credential with on-the-job training and career placements across JNP Aviation’s network of airports throughout New Zealand. Airways New Zealand also provides career opportunities and will support fourteen students who signed up at the expo to visit the control tower with further information regarding specific career pathways. Australia based Aerospace, Defence and Security company Leonardo will provide opportunities moving forward, not just with students, but for the other businesses that were present.

The expo highlighted the need for local businesses to understand the environment and become a part of the future of work solution. Our ability to develop our city comes from being able to see all the possibilities and actively work together for the prosperity of our Tauranga Moana and our rangatahi who will hold these positions. By actively sharing knowledge and collaborating with the schools in our region, businesses can support and encourage Māori and Pasifika youth to connect with the local opportunities and keep the pipeline of talent attraction full.