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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

15 mins ago

TJ Pene is enjoying the NZ Certificate in Automotive Engineering [Level 3] programme at EIT Hawke’s Bay.

TJ Pene (Ngāti Kahungunu) started tinkering with cars with his Dad when he was very young, so it makes sense that he is now enrolled in the NZ Certificate in Automotive Engineering [Level 3] programme at EIT Hawke’s Bay.

It has not been an easy road for TJ, who was born in Rotorua but now lives in Hastings with his family.

His real name is Tuia, with Junior added to distinguish him from his Dad, who gave him his love for cars. The name means a lot to his whānau as it has been handed down over four generations.

TJ left school early “because it was not really for me”, but still realised that he needed to study further to get somewhere in life. He enrolled in the Te Marama Learning Centre in Hastings, and while he was there he attended an Open Day at EIT’s Hawke’s Bay Campus in Taradale.

TJ only had eyes for one programme on offer – automotive.

“ I just didn’t really like anything else – I like cars.”

“That just got my attention straight away because the instructor was showing parts from cars, and it was what I wanted to learn. I thought that this feels like a good programme for me. “

It was enough for TJ to sign up for the (Free) NZ Certificate in Foundation Skills (Automotive and Engineering) [Level 2], which he completed last year.

“I enjoyed it so much. It started off kind of slowly, but the more we progressed into working with cars, the more it got my attention. Everything we were doing was what I wanted to learn.”

“Passing Level 2 gave me the courage to go for Level 3, which I will definitely pass.”

TJ says he is keen to continue studying automotive engineering next year but would like to work in a garage or car workshop at the same time.

There is no doubt that TJ’s passion is driven by the simple pleasure of working on vehicles.

“It has always been a hobby and I love it when I get to do something. It’s like when you first build your engine, and you start it for the first time. It feels great because you built that.”

Having built an engine last year, the irony is not lost on TJ that he can fix cars before he even has his full licence (he has his learners’).

That is his next task and after that, his aim is to build his own car from scratch.

And his car of choice – an old school Ford!

For now, TJ is just loving the EIT programme and the education he is getting

“The tutors are great and really help us. They know things that a lot of us don’t and they are keen to teach us.”

Todd Rogers, EIT’s Head of School for Trades & Technology says: “Automotive Engineering is one of our most popular programmes and it is fantastic to see one of our graduates pathway from Foundation Skills to Automotive Level 3 and then to industry – that’s what we are here for.”