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To give them confidence working in remote settings, students learn how to measure accurately and cut with saws and machinery using generators.
As they gain confidence in their construction skills, the trainee rangers also give back to the community by joining in on projects such as with Mitre10 Mega Helping Hands, building a saddling pen for Whakatu Riding for the Disabled.
Geoff Button, tutor for the programme over the past eight years, reflects on some of the projects he has been involved in.
“A few years ago, we completed a huge deck surrounding an entire lodge up at Lake Rotoiti,” Geoff says. “Out at Moturoa (Rabbit Island) we built a deck on a building that was donated.” Geoff says there are also small on-going projects the students are involved in..
“We currently have a few woodsheds that were built at the Richmond Campus, and they will be flown to some local DOC hut sites.”
The programme is split up into three streams to allow for smaller class sizes: two Trainee Ranger streams and Project Moturoa, with has a mātauranga Māori focus.
Each year, students are expected to learn some basic construction skills and support the local community in any way possible.
“We have recently completed the Whakatu RDA shelter and will cast our net around later in the year for the next construction project to begin in April or May 2023,” says Geoff.
The last kaitaki whenua cohort has recently graduated, with a new cohort making room for the next 50 students to begin 18 July.
photo credit: Murray Leaning, Mitre10 Mega Helping Hands Nelson.