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Samoan carpenter carving a path for women

With possibly much more fanfare than she expected, Ma’aola was officially welcomed at the ARA Institute of Canterbury’s Woolston campus on February 8 with a tour of the campus and luncheon where a host of VIPs presented speeches including the Samoan High Commissioner Leasi Papali’i Tommy Scanlan.

“In Samoa carpentry and trades are mainly for the boys,” the High Commissioner said on the day. “Parents don’t encourage their girls to do that.

“But Ma’aola and other young women are going outside the box. They’ve decided that if the boys can do it, they can do it.”

The Ara Institute of Canterbury is also supporting Tradestaff and Ma’aola by providing her with a scholarship for the Centre of Assessment of Prior Learning (CAPL), so that in a year’s time she will have a New Zealand Carpentry qualification.

Ma’aola started working as a carpenter in 2013 and completed her Certificate III in Carpentry at the APTC.

“In Samoa it’s different from here,” she explained. “Sometimes we use the wrong tools because we don’t have the money to buy tools. But I’m looking forward to using the correct tools and a wider range here.”

The Sally McFarlane Legacy Scholarship for Pacific Women in Trades was established by Tradestaff to honour Sally worked with the company for 10 years where she received the 2016 Tradestaff Excellence Award for Manager of the Year and the 2015 Tradestaff Recruiter of the Year.

Sally was at the forefront of setting up and running the Canterbury Reconstruction Pilot in 2016, bringing and placing over 20 carpenters into Canterbury from our Pacific neighbours to assist with the rebuild of Christchurch. Sally sadly passed away in 2017.

“Tradestaff are incredibly proud to have Ma’aola here and to be able to honour Sally in this way,” Tradestaff General Manager Janice McNab said.

“Sally created her own legacy through her work and passion to be the best she could be, this now provides the opportunity for Ma’aola to create her own legacy and be a role model for more Pacifica women to consider a trade.”

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