Learners we work with

Inia Te Wiata


Stuart Tolhurst Award Winner

Raising three young children, completing an apprenticeship and working full time have not stopped mechanical maintenance engineering apprentice, Inia Te Wiata, from achieving success. Inia works for Fonterra’s Hautapu factory where he is completing his four-year apprenticeship.

His dedication and commitment saw him winning the national 2019 Stuart Tolhurst Memorial Award.

Inia was nominated by Competenz Training Advisor Allen Bryce. “It’s Inia’s attitude that impresses me most. He’s an all-round excellent guy, hardworking and reliable, and the skills of the maintenance trade have become a passion for him.”

“The recognition came as a bit of a shock,” laughs Inia. “Just to be nominated was cool and we celebrated that but to win was amazing. I’m not used to being in the limelight!”

Embarking on an apprenticeship came from a desire to create a better future for him and his family. “It’s great that Fonterra is able to help people like me make a fresh start. I wanted to change my career to something with more options. So I applied for an apprenticeship – I was a lot older than most of the applicants. But here I am, now qualified.”

Inia’s role involves day-to-day machinery maintenance in dairy plants with a high level of technology, which requires technical know-how and manual skills.

“The machines are automated and technical, everything’s controlled from a screen. But on the process side on the factory floor – pumps, valves and belts – manual engineering knowledge and skills are needed.”

Finding the balance between family, work and study has been a challenge, however, Inia is very pleased he stuck with it. “Having a qualification has given me a lot of options. I don’t have any debt from my study and I’ve been paid while learning. The engineering trades are really interesting – the science of fixing problems.”