When Solomon Islander Brodie Hayward was a 25 year old in 2005, he knew he wanted to see the Pacific and to do that he needed to earn to learn.
Brodie was one of the first to come to New Zealand with the RSE scheme to Hawkes Bay in 2006 with Unipak. He met one of the recruiters in the pub in Honiara and he’s never
“My first time on a plane, it was all a bit of sensory overload to be honest’ says Brodie. My primary school English came in handy as I and others tried to navigate work instructions and pay slips!”
I joined one of the first Vakameasina Essential Learning night classes and it definitely helped with confidence, budgeting, and life in New Zealand. I especially liked using the computer. I enjoyed it, I love learning and it helped me set goals”. “By 2007 and my second season I became a supervisor and tractor driver. I and others who have completed a Vakameasina course have a real season of pride and I have seen certificates hanging on walls when I’ve gone back home!” On the way Brodie learned abit more of his heritage and met local relatives, ’I am Solomon/Kiribati and Maori from my father who is Ngati Tuhoe.’
Unipak and his New Zealand connection meant Brodie could become a citizen. “One regret was I could no longer attend Vakameasina classes being a citizen rather than a seasonal worker!” However he loved being involved so helped out with translation and ongoing support of RSE workers.
Brodie has been with Unipak now T&G for 16 years. “They are a great Company and helped mentor my journey from an RSE worker to supervisor, leading hand to labour foreman and RSE Co-ordinator”
Brodie has since gone on to further study and completed up to Level 4 Horticulture certifications and been able to bring over his wife Mei and children to Hawkes Bay. “I had little milestones – be a good worker, learn new skills, advance in my Company whilst still sending money back home to support my wider family and buy our first home”. So far he’s hit all his milestones.
Funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s New Zealand Aid Programme, the Vakameasina RSE Worker Training Programme offers free education and development opportunities for all RSE workers across New Zealand. Vakameasina is an integral component of the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme, and supports both RSE workers and employers with foundational courses for living and working in New Zealand.
The larger outcomes of the programme are aimed toward participants leading development opportunities in their home countries. Vakameasina aims to support individuals to pursue their own learning and development pathways by helping to grow confidence with new learning here in New Zealand, and developing goals and action plans for applying learning and resourcing at home. Small Business Development, Leadership, Women’s Leadership, Youth Leadership, Disaster Risk Management, Climate Change Resilience, House Design and Build, Portable Water Solutions, Solar Power, and Small Engines are some of these elective avenues RSE workers can pursue.