15 NZ trades people set for World Skills Competition

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Fifteen of New Zealand’s most skilled trades people have recently been named into the final Tools Black squad.

Their skills range from panel beating to graphic design and now they’re taking their skills to face off with some of the world's best trades people at this year’s World Skills Competition held in Brazil in August.

New Zealand World Skills manager Roger Hini says, “The international comp is huge, it’s bigger than what you ever expected it's going to be. When you get there, it's a little mind blowing, you turn up and you’re sort of gobsmacked about how big it is.”

One of the fifteen members is 21-year-old Luke Tahurangi from Wellington, when he took up spray painting 6 years ago he realised it wasn’t just a trade by choice.

Tahurangi says “My great grandfather was actually a spray painter, I found out once I started in the trade, maybe it's always been in the blood.”

Now Luke has another challenge, as the only Māori in the Tools Black squad he has been given the honour to lead the haka in Brazil.  Luke told Te Kāea today “It's a privilege to be able to do it, you know representing New Zealand and to lead the haka it's a big thing, in front of thousands of people as well so a little nerve racking, never done anything like it before.”

Luke's mentor Roger says he's proud of his progress, “As I've grown to know him over the last 12 months you can see he's channelling his energy into the competition, the lights gone on that yeah I can do this, and I can get to that international competition.”

The 15 competitors derive from all over the country but they’ll be heading to Brazil as one, where they will take on some of World’s from 72 countries.