Hera - Call Centre Operator / Kaimahi Pokapū Whakapā

After the coffee cart I drifted from job to job. Stock taking at supermarkets, to labouring at the fisheries, stuff like that. Then I got pregnant. I was 19. To make it even harder, dad died two months after I gave birth. While that was really, really tough, I'm very thankful that he got to hold my baby in his arms. I named my son Stanley, after dad. In our culture, if you name name a baby after someone, it means they will carry on that person's good traits.

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Amanda - Youth Worker / Kaimahi Taiohi

My friend, Melie told me about a teaching aid position at a primary school. The deputy principal was her boyfriend’s aunty. Automatically, I thought they wouldn’t hire me. If she saw my ta moko - my Maori tattoo on my wrist - I thought that’d be it, game over. I went in to meet her, not knowing what to expect. To my surprise, we hit it off and she gave me the job the same day.

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Joanne - Sea Pilot /Poutikanga Whakahaere Kaipuke

Lyttelton needed two new pilots and they called me up. It was strange at first, living on land. I was always on the edge of my seat, waiting until the ‘holiday’ was over and I’d get back on the ship. After a while, I realised it wasn’t that bad. I loved going away on road trips. But the best part was being able to go to my own home each day after work. I haven’t moved far really, just across the road from where I grew up.

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Jess - Architect / Kaihoahoa Whare

You know when something satisfies you because you want to work really, really hard. That’s how I felt at architecture school. It felt so right. I discovered there are multiple avenues. You might be the sort of person that who excited by the theory behind it all, or the aesthetics, or there’s the form and proportion of buildings. There are many pathways within the one career.

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Leilani - Mother / Whaea

Being a mother is hard work. I watch my child grow and know he learns from everything he sees me do. It feels good when people he’s a good boy. He’s a great listener, and that’s something I’ve tried very hard to teach him. He represents me, in a way. I might walk down to the mall looking terrible, but as long as he’s shining, I don’t care. He’s my success.

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Heidi - Mother / Whaea

They say being a mother is one of the hardest jobs in the world, up there with air traffic controllers. Yet employers don’t accept it as work experience. When you’re looking at applying for jobs, it’s not good for your self confidence to know that. People don’t take you seriously. They think you’re out of practise or out of touch.

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Elaina - Painter & Business Owner / Kaipeita

Getting into a trade is a good idea because there’s constant work. It’s enabled me to have flexible hours and has supported me during pregnancy. I’ve been able to step back in when the kids were old enough for daycare. Now that they’re are at primary school, I’m back to five days a week. I try to make sure I offer the same flexibility to the women that work for me. I know what it’s like having a young family and I’m happy to put in a lot of effort to accommodate their family needs.

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