Six young Māori men are preparing to show off their skills at the upcoming Auckland Regional Competenz Apprentice Butcher of the Year Awards next month.
They will go up against hundreds of other competitors for the title of the nation’s Top Butcher Award.
Te Kāea met the young Māori as they prepare for the competition.
These boys are preparing to rip it up and spill blood when they take centre stage in front of the judges.
Jono Taiapa says, “I wanna be the best, that’s my future aspiration. I wanna be the best. I wanna give this competition a go, if I don’t win it this year, I’m gonna try it for next year.”
Carlos Tuhua says, “Yes we are all competitive, but at the same time it’s just about having fun.”
“I know after the competition I’m guessing like doors will open and I’ll make up my ideas and choose which direction I wanna do,” Hohepa Smith says.
For one of these young men, the interest to get into this particular industry developed early by watching the hunters of his whānau prepare their meat.
Jacque Manuel says, “Just watching the uncles and that cut up the pigs and when they went hunting and all that, any hunting, fishing, it’s all good and that’s what made me get into it.”
These young men aren’t the only ones getting gains from their work, their marae are also reaping the benefits in the kitchens.
Taiapa says, “We stayed at Manutuke Marae and none of them knew that I was doing an apprenticeship down there ‘cause it’s the first time I’ve seen them in years. But when my mother blabbed, like told them, they were like oh boy come do this, come do that and they were shocked with how much I could do, they were like mean!”
Four will stand for Countdown Tāmaki, Jono will represent PAK'n SAVE Albany while Jacque will stand for PAK'n SAVE Mangere.
Hannon Pearson-Hoani says, “I think we all have a pretty good chance. We have a pretty good teacher Riki and Hohepa does his best to teach us what he knows.”
Lua MacDonald says, “I know where this kind of trade, where it can take you. I’ve actually set a five year goal so I actually plan to go overseas.”
While chasing the win is a big thing for all these boys, most of them have a goal of utilising their skills on their marae at home and teaching the knowledge they have to the younger generation.
Manual says, “I wanna kind of pass down my skill what I’ve learnt ‘cause people older than me, they showed me these skills, they said in a way it’s a waste of time to hold on to your skills, share your skills out and become a legend.”
How far these young men get in the competition will be revealed next month.