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East coast roading in his blood - Mohi Smith

Mohi Smith canva

It was road work that took Mohi Smith's whānau to Matawai in the mid-20th century, and road work that helped him settle his family in Wairoa today.

“Back in the day my grandfather was working on the Waioeka Gorge and that's how they ended up in Matawai,” says the 30-year-old Quality Roading and Services labourer.

“They ended up going into farming so that's where we stayed.”

Having divided his schooling between Whakatane and nearby Te Karaka, Mohi, Ngāti Porou, Ngai Tūhoe, ended up working with the Wairoa-Waikaremoana Māori Trust on projects around the treasured lake and the bushland that surrounds it.

“It was good work, important work, but I had to be up there camping five days a week while my partner and baby were in Wairoa,” he says.

“So, when the chance came up to interview for a labouring job with QRS I took it, and a week later I was on the job.”

That was in early May 2022 and, with the region having suffered from some catastrophic rains, Mohi was already working on some big projects.

“I'm really keen to develop my skills and get some more licences, hopefully building up to driving heavy vehicles,” he says.

“And I really enjoy working with QRS's capital division. It's totally hands-on and there's always heaps of new things to learn.”

Even better, at the end of the day he gets to go home to his partner, their pre-schooler daughter and, soon, the son they are expecting.

“Being with QRS has given me the chance to get some new skills and qualifications and is so much better for my family,” Mohi says.

“And being in Wairoa really suits me as I've always been into being a gatherer. Hunting, fishing, diving . . . that's what I love, and I'm out there every chance I get.”

3 August 2022

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Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini. My strength is not mine alone, it is the strength of many.

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