​Ma’aola Fiu Pepe begins a year long journey with Tradestaff who have partnered with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) as part of the Pacific Trades Partnership (PTP). Ma’aola is the first recipient of The Sally McFarlane Legacy Scholarship for Pacific Women in Trades. The scholarship was set up in remembrance of Sally McFarlane who worked for Tradestaff for 10 years and sadly passed away in 2017.

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 cared deeply about all Tradestaff workers, but there can be no denying she had a particular love for our Pacifica workers and did everything she could do to ensure their success while they worked and lived here in Christchurch as part of the PTP. Sally was also passionate about women in construction and was always keen to encourage more women to follow this pathway.

The success of the Canterbury Reconstruction Pilot led to the expanded programme launch in 2018, the Pacific Trades Partnership. Ma’aola was officially welcomed last week on Friday 8 February at the Trades campus of Ara Institute of Canterbury in Woolston, where a lunch was held to celebrate her achievement in being the first female carpenter from the PTP. After a brief tour of the campus an official welcome was held with speeches from Janice McNab General Manager New Zealand from Tradestaff, Matt Hoskin National Manager, Skills and Investment MBIE, Dave Dixon Manager of CAPL at Ara and the Samoan High Commissioner, His Excellency Leasi Papali’i Tommy Scanlan.

Ara Institute of Canterbury are also supporting Tradestaff and Ma’aola by providing her 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, completed her Certificate III in Carpentry at the APTC in Samoa and she is now looking forward to gaining a New Zealand qualification and further experience.

“In Samoa it’s different from here. 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,” Ma’aola says.

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

H.E Leasi Papali’i Tommy Scanlan said, “In Samoa carpentry and trades are mainly for the boys. 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.”

For further information contact

Janice McNab

021 663860

*Photo: Samoan High Commissioner, His Excellency Leasi Papali’i Tommy Scanlan with Scholarship recipient Ma’aola Fiu Pepe