Deaf pair just part of the team
Patrick James Haumaha (PJ) and Tamatoa Carl Misiaga may appear to be just like all the other bobby calf lifters at Farmers Transport in Putaruru.
Unlike their workmates though they’re also completely deaf and can’t speak.
Despite their disability branch manager Darrin O’connor said Haumaha, 23, and Misiaga, 22, get along just fine.
‘‘We get a lot of positive feedback from clients on how good they are and how well they treat the animals which is awesome, especially with the bad publicity the industry got last year,’’ he said.
‘‘PJ has been with me for around nine years now and comes back every year during the bobby calf season.
‘‘He’s an awesome guy, a great worker, real bubbly and really knows what he’s doing.
‘‘It’s Tamatoa’s first year with me and he has also worked out really well.’’
O’connor said the lack of verbal communication didn’t faze his team and he didn’t think twice about hiring them.
‘‘They are aware of their surroundings but also the other guys are aware of them too so they always tap them on the back if there is a hazard or something like that.
‘‘It’s just a matter of everyone working together and looking out for one another.’’
Haumaha said they have been made to feel no different from everyone else.
‘‘It’s good work and all the people treat us great and as part of the team,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re also two deaf people that are able to teach all the hearing people, including the truck drivers and other calf lifters, to communicate with us through sign language which is a lot of fun.’’
Having each other for support also goes a long way.
‘‘When I first meet Tamatoa I told him about bobby calf lifting at Farmers Transport Limited and explained to him that it was a fun and awesome job, ‘he said.
‘‘It keeps you fit lifting bobby calves and all the workers always share with other lifters.’’
O’connor encouraged other employers to give people with similar conditions a go.
‘‘I understand that if it is an environment where there are hazards around that you need to be aware of by sound that it would not be good but there are some environments where it will work perfectly fine,’’ he said.
‘‘These guys know what to look out for and they are very capable boys.
‘‘I also find they go that extra length to do their job to the best of there ability and they have a bit of fun while doing it too.’’ Family violence We had 15 family violence incidents that were reported to police during the week and we have put all these people in touch with our partner agencies for assistance in their lives. Five of the incidents have resulted in people being arrested and charged. Alcohol Only one person was stopped for drink driving this week.
* Senior Sergeant Jason Henderson
Patrick James Haumaha and Tamatoa Carl Misiaga get along fine working at Farmers Transport in Putaruru despite not being able to hear or speak.