Makirai Henry came to New Zealand to seek new opportunities for his schooling. As a 15-year-old boy, this was a common practice for people of Pukapuka, Cook Islands, to further their studies.
When Makirai got here however, he was more enticed by the horse track rather than the schoolroom. He moved to Hamilton and pursued his dream to become a horse trainer.
And here he found his passion. Starting out using blacksmith’s skills, Makirai found his life-long career in welding.
Makirai entered the world of engineering through his passion for welding, and in 1991 was offered a position at AUT (then AIT) because of his speciality in welding unusual metals, such as titanium.
Over 25 years later, Makirai is still at AUT, teaching and learning from his colleagues and students. His experience in the field of welding is second to none.
Makirai enjoys the everyday challenges of his position and working alongside his “very intelligent” colleagues.
He is very driven in helping his students.
Being a Cook Islands lecturer in Mechanical Production is very important to Makirai.
He says his department is always encouraging Pacific students in this particular field. For those who do enroll, Makirai’s door is always open to them, even if it is just for a chat.