Scholarship student lays foundations for family home


Diane Te Hana wanted to build her parents a new home, but with no building experience under her belt she has to start from the bottom in order to achieve her goal.

Diane is currently studying a one-year carpentry certificate at NMIT and is one of several students who received a scholarship in today’s award ceremony.

She says she chose to study carpentry to support her parents. Her dad is off work after suffering three heart attacks and a stroke in one month and her mother is still working to support the rent payments.

“They shouldn’t have to pay rent when my dad owns land up in the Waikato, I want to build them a house for them on his land. That’s what inspired me to take this trade up.”

Diane was awarded the equity study scholarship which she says will assist her in reaching her dream to become a Master builder.

“I have to get some more work experience hours underneath my belt and then hopefully I can go straight into my apprenticeship. Eventually I want to end up a master builder.”

As a mother of eight children, Diane plans to get the rest of her family excited about the building trade as well.

“I’m very privileged to be a mother of eight. I have five boys and three girls aged four to 25, I’d like to grow this into my family business. My husband is the at home dad, I’ve been very fortunate to have him helping me, I lean on my husband.”

Diane, her tutors and her “hard case” class are currently building a new office for the Women’s Refuge, a project that tutor Andy Waugh says often gives Diane the opportunity to take charge.

“She automatically takes a lead role, it’s a motherly thing. She’s done a range of things in her life which definitely helps.”

Manager of engineering, construction and conservation at NMIT, Eddie Shields, says the work Diane has been doing is outstanding which is why she was very deserving of the scholarship.

“She comes with a great positive attitude which helps the other students to learn too. Diane has given a lot to come here and is a devoted student. If I was in Diane’s situation I don’t think I could do it.”

Diane joins a number of other scholarship winners today in their share of $240,000 towards furthering their study, including aquaculture scholarships from NZ King Salmon, business scholarships, viticulture scholarships and scholarships from the Makos and Giants sports teams.

NMIT Director of Marketing and International Development Virginia Watson says support from local businesses and trusts across Nelson and Marlborough helps to retain high performing students in the region who might otherwise leave and study elsewhere.

“The economics of studying locally make sense for many students as does having a familiar home base. But to get local businesses to partner with NMIT in supporting students to stay is hugely important for the region”.