Māori pilot receives aviation excellence award

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Māori only make up under 3% of people in the aviation industry in New Zealand, but that's something one Māori pilot wants to change. Rocky Rua is one of 11 people to receive a prestigious aviation excellence award.

He's one of very few Māori in aviation, and now his skills have set him soaring sky-high.

Rocky Rua says, “I was awarded the Michael J Neville Boeing Award. I am the first Māori recipient  of that award which makes it even more special.”

The Flight Safety Officer has trained a number of pilots at CTC Aviation in Hamilton, but Rocky says more Māori are needed in this area.

Mr Rua says, “Typically we are underrepresented in this area, through previous work of mine, through study and academia and also through my work experience I've always had that passion to increaser Māori participation in Aviation.”

There are only 11 people that have received the Michael J Neville Boeing award, Rocky Rua is the first Māori. Now it's time to put those skills to the test.

He has also completed a Masters in Business Administration at Waikato University, and he found a lot of interesting findings.

“It identified a need to increase partnership and collaboration between iwi and flight training organisation, this intern would encourage  and promote pathways for rangatahi to get into flight training in NZ.”

Rocky wants to encourage Māori youth to get into aviation and hopes iwi will get on board to help.