Wednesday, 05 August 2020


Another opportunity to obtain an arboriculture qualification in Whitianga

Zach Wood is one of Mercury Bay’s most recent Wintec graduates, having last year completed an NZQA Level 3 Certificate in Arboriculture in Whitianga.

Zach was in between jobs with no qualifications when he saw an ad for the arboriculture course in The Informer and thought it looked like something he could try.

Another Wintec arboriculture course is planned to start in Whitianga in the next few weeks. An information session will be held at 19 Buffalo Beach Road (the old Mercury Bay Hospital) on Wednesday 20 February from 11:00am to 12:00 noon.

Wintec also offers a landscape construction course in Whitianga.

The Wintec arboriculture programme in Whitianga runs over a period of 20 weeks with classes taking place four days a week during school hours.

“What I liked about the course is that every day was different,” says Zach. “One day we would be working with chainsaws and the next we would be climbing trees for the tree care aspect of the programme. We were taught many skills, some of which included learning correct planting and pruning techniques. On one occasion we practiced on the hedges around the Mercury Bay Library.”

The course also covers health and safety, first aid, tree identification and chipper use.

Zach’s favourite part of the programme by far was the tree climbing. “It was definitely a bit nerve-racking at first being so high up, but once I got used to it, it was great fun,” he says. “We got to use the trees out at the Whitianga golf course for our training.”

Zach is now working as a climbing arborist at Dynamic Tree Care in Coromandel Town, but is aiming to achieve an NZQA Level 4 Certificate in Horticultural Services at the Wintec campus in Hamilton.

Regional programme coordinator for Wintec’s horticulture courses, Fiona Taylor, talks highly of the landscape construction and arboriculture courses available in Whitianga, run in a much-appreciated partnership with Ngati Hei.

“What is wonderful about these courses is that they are government funded, so they are completely fees free and anyone can enrol,” says Fiona.

“Several years ago, Wintec acknowledged that there are often many factors, including family commitments or financial restraints, that prevent people from travelling to Hamilton to study. So after responding to community demand, we were successful in setting up these programmes in Whitianga during 2017.”

The courses are introductory level and participants can be any age over 15. They do not need to hold any prior school or tertiary-level qualifications, just a willingness to learn.

Wintec believes that their outdoor-focused courses are perfect for a town like Whitianga, where the community has strong ties to a beautiful natural environment.

“The Mercury Bay community is extremely environmentally conscious and with a strong demand for qualified employees in the landscape construction and arboriculture industries, these courses are a perfect fit for Whitianga,” says Fiona.

Zach is one of many course graduates with a success story to tell, with no doubt many more to come.

“I am very happy that I chose to pursue a career in arboriculture,” says Zach. “I am lucky that I was able to establish a career in an industry that I am passionate about.”

If you cannot make the information session on 20 February, you can phone local Wintec tutor, Howard Saunders, on (027) 866 3277 for more information.

Pictured: Whitianga resident, Zach Wood, a recent Wintec graduate, is very happy that he has chosen to establish a career in arboriculture.


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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.