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Students pursue Pilot dreams through Air NZ

Monday 21 August 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Education, National


Students pursue Pilot dreams through Air NZ
Tereora College and Air NZ staff at the Pilot Information evening in Auckland. From left: Turori Matutu, Ben Taule’ale’ausumai, Kanoa Kermode, Danni Tixier, Vaine Arii Nooana, Troy Matutu, Amelia Sio, Stevenson Safotu, Christine Ody, Louise Taylor. STEVENSON SAFOTU/23081839

A group of ambitious students from Tereora College reached for the skies when they participated in the prestigious Air New Zealand Pilot Information Evening in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand, last week.

The initiative, which is part of Air New Zealand’s Pathway Programme, offers aspiring young aviators a valuable opportunity to pursue their dreams of becoming pilots.

Six Tereora College students were selected to represent the school and the country at the event.

Rarotonga’s Air New Zealand team leader Stevenson Safotu said the event was a great opportunity for the students to attend presentations from Air New Zealand pilots and learn about the role and life of a pilot, as well as learn about pilot training pathways.

Safotu delivered a presentation to Tereora College Year 13 students, which was followed by internal vetting conducted by the school.

He then conducted further interviews to narrow down the list of interested students to six: Athina Karika, Kanoa Kermode, Elogan Arokapiti, Troy Matutu, Danni Tixier, and Vaine-Arii Nooana.

Safotu and Turoru Matutu, also from Air New Zealand, accompanied the students from Rarotonga to Aotearoa last week on Monday, August 13, and returned on Wednesday, August 16.

Aspiring pilot Kanoa Kermode, 17, said the information evening was a great experience.

“It was a great experience which really heightened my vision and interest in the field of aviation,” Kermode said.

“I learnt a lot of things about aviation that I didn't know. I know it is a tough career but I know it's not impossible, and speaking to the pilots and people on the flight deck has opened my mind to the aviation career and other pathways at the airport.”

Kermode said he “enjoyed the whole experience” of visiting the engineering and maintenance crew, and watching the cabin and flight deck crew and how the boys work on the ramp.

“The aviation presentation was great and I would recommend this information evening for students who want to be pilots in the future,” he said.

Safotu said the aim of the event was to “open doors” for students who are passionate about a career in the aviation industry.

The students also experienced watching movement operations from the tower, and visiting the domestic fleet.

Safotu noted that it was wonderful to see former students who have come through the Pathway programme on Rarotonga now working in New Zealand, continuing their careers.

After the information evening, former Rarotonga Air NZ pathway students now working at Auckland airport: James Niua (flight attendant), Matthew Browne (engineering), Michael Mokoroa (ramp), and Eshan Taio (ramp), took the Tereora students out for dinner, sharing with them their experiences and encouragement.

Safotu said there is a desperate shortage of pilots across airlines, and now that travel is spiking again, Air New Zealand needs more pilots.