Build­ing a solid fu­ture on and off wa­ter

Central Leader - - EDUCATION& TRAINING -

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.

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