Myth-busting web series to encourage more wāhine into the trades

From welders to big rig drivers, to builders, to engineers, from brekkie to knock-off, a new web series follows a group of trailblazing wāhine to see how they navigate their jobs and celebrate their aspirations for the future.

‘Wāhine on the Tools’ has been launched by TradeCareers to encourage more wāhine Māori and Pacific women into the trades, with new episodes dropping each week for the next five weeks.

At present, only 13.5% of all workers in the trades are women, and there are only 2.6% of women on the tools. TradeCareers believe that number should be much higher.

“The launch of this awesome web series ‘Wāhine on the Tools’ comes at a pivotal time,” says Samantha McNaughton, Deputy Chief Executive Hanga-Aro-Rau Workforce Development Council.

“We know the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected the employment of women – especially our Māori and Pacific wāhine – and that our industries across manufacturing, engineering, logistics, construction and infrastructure are facing unprecedented skills shortages which have been compounded by the pandemic.

“These industries are traditionally male dominated, but there are a growing number of passionate and talented women making waves in our industries – however, we need more to make a difference.”

Ms McNaughton adds this web series proves wāhine have a strong place in their sectors, with highly successful careers full of a diverse range of opportunities.

“We are proud to showcase the exciting careers and talented wāhine already in our industries to provide inspiring pathways for generations to come,” she adds.

Fourth Year Masterlink plumbing, gas fitting and drain laying apprentice Hera Eruera, @shes_a_maori_plumber_features in one of the episodes and is very enthusiastic about her trade. “I just love my career! I’m making a great life for my bub and my whānau and am giving back to my community.”

Eruera, a young mother of two children who lives in Auckland, is keen to help encourage more Māori women to give trades a go.

And behind the scenes of the web series, it’s an all wāhine effort by NUI Creative.

NUI Creative CEO, Leilani Fokelau says, “As an organisation led and inspired by indigenous wāhine assembling a completely wāhine production crew was a no-brainer.

“In the NUI production crew, we are mama, sisters, aunties and daughters, each of whom have their own connection to the experiences shared in the series. So, it’s been incredibly fulfilling empowering wāhine in the trades sector as well as wāhine in the production, which is at the heart of the mahi NUI is here to do.”

The first of the five, ten-minute episodes begins on Thursday 29 September 2022. Watch Theresa Wawatai (Ngāti Porou), a welder (pictured above) on the road to engineering in the first episode of ‘Wāhine on the Tools’ at


‘Wāhine on the Tools’ is presented by TradeCareers and supported by Hanga-Aro-Rau and Waihanga Ara Rau Workforce Development Councils and funded by the Tertiary Education Commission.