After being born in Auckland, Peter moved to Taranaki in 1982 to live with his father in Kaponga. He attended Ōpunake High School before enrolling in a Māori Trade Training programme at what was then Taranaki Polytechnic.
After spending 36 years in his trade, that included completing an apprenticeship at the New Plymouth Power Station, and in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), Peter will join WITT in a the newly established role Kaiarahi Mātāmua/Chief Advisor, Māori Trades and Engineering at the end of the month.
“I attributed a lot of my success to what I was taught on Māori Trade Training,” he said.
“I have the opportunity to come back to where it all began for me - it is a privilege and if I could have a positive influence for our rangatahi that would be awesome.”
Peter says his days in the Māori Trade Training programme were the ‘most formative years of my life.’ He was also influenced by his tutors Messrs Bill Raymond, Jack Dea, Murray Horne and Billy White.
“They were inspirational to all of us.”
Peter played rugby for New Plymouth Old Boys and Tikorangi along with rugby league for Bell Block while living here.
He has an astonishing background, first growing up in a bi-cultural family environment, completing his trade and moving into the RNZAF in 1990.
He re-trained to become an aircraft technician and worked on various aircraft from jet fighters to helicopters, to cargo and passenger planes. In 2005, he completed an extra qualification in mechanical engineering extramurally and changed roles to become an aircraft engineer.
“I completed a number of aviation engineering courses in Australia, America and the UK.”
He then held a number of engineering management and command roles throughout the air force, deployed to operations in Afghanistan and Iraq before settling as the Base Commander RNZAF Base Woodbourne – the main training facility and home of the air force.
Moving into the new role at WITT, Peter said his experience in engineering, management and leadership has provided him with the experience of training people in a variety of specialist areas.
“Apart from the military induction training, I was responsible for the delivery of technical trade training,” he said.
That included aircraft and vehicle maintenance, electronics, machining, welding and more.
He’s also remained connected to rangatahi through the Auckland Māori and Pasifika Trade Training Group and the Tuakana Programme at Auckland University.
“Through these groups, I became aware of the challenges that our young people face as they are starting their working careers. More often than not, it was about providing positive feedback and guidance very much like the support and guidance I received when I went through Māori Trade Training.”
Peter said he’s looking forward to supporting and guiding rangatahi in pursuit of their goals. His focus will be on creating lasting pathways and incorporating aspects of Te Ao Māori into the delivery of education, and to explore the aspirations of iwi and hapū.
Despite being away for so long, he’s always maintained close connections with his whānau and in some ways feels like he’s never left.
“I’m looking forward to reconnecting with friends and getting back into supporting my old sports teams, not to mention Taranaki in the NPC,” he added.