Building a solid future on and off water
At 22 years of age, Unitec boatbuilding student Josh Kingi-Perese is proving to be a force to be reckoned with both on the water and off.
As a member of the Manukau Outriggers waka ama team, the Mt Roskill resident has taken part in many races nationally and overseas.
‘‘I’ve been to Tahiti four times, represented Samoa in New Caledonia for the South Pacific Games and represented New Zealand in the world sprints in Canada, where we brought home two golds.
‘‘Racing in Tahiti is always exciting because it’s their main sport over there. They’re the best of the best. We don’t just go to race, we go to learn and bring some knowledge back to New Zealand.’’
Josh plans on establishing a boatbuilding business after he completes his degree.
‘‘I want to leave with a good foundation of knowledge in the boatbuilding industry and be able to design my own waka.
‘‘I tell people about it and they say it’s a good business idea, but it’s not really about the business, or making money for me. It’s about doing something I like and also trying to contribute to the sport and make it grow bigger.’’
Since taking the leap into boatbuilding, Josh looks back on how he found his new career path.
‘‘When you finish school, you don’t know what to do. So, I worked at a few different jobs. Mostly labouring. One day I searched boatbuilding on the internet and that’s when I saw it [certificate in boatbuilding] and thought, ‘Man, I should go and do it’. So I did.’’
He says everyone he meets at Unitec has been supportive, especially his tutors.
Waka ama is more than a sport for Josh, it has enabled him to connect with his Tainui, Ngapuhi and Samoan cultures, and has given him a greater understanding about the sustainability of our water.
‘‘Waka ama is powerful. I’ve experienced many benefits and have seen these also in our waka ama community. My passion and involvement with waka ama, alongside the guidance of my parents has made me the person I am.’’
Lively sculptures: Students from Hungry Creek’s sculpting programme.
Rising star: Josh Kingi-Perese is building a new career for himself through boatbuilding.