Wahine on Wheels empowering

Dunedin Training Centre automotive supervisor Ross Forsyth checks the oil level on a dipstick...
Dunedin Training Centre automotive supervisor Ross Forsyth checks the oil level on a dipstick with Wahine on Wheels student Georgina Smith in the centre’s workshop in Kensington last week. PHOTO: SHAWN McAVINUE
A group of Maori women are doing it for themselves in Dunedin.

The inaugural women’s mechanics workshop Wahine on Wheels is under way at the Dunedin Training Centre in Kensington.

Centre automotive supervisor Ross Forsyth said 13 women were learning skills to maintain a car in the centre’s workshop, on Thursdays.

Over six weeks the women learn a range of skills including changing a tyre, oil, filter and brake pads and checking a fan belt, tyre pressure and brake fluid levels.

The skills allowed the women to take control rather than depend on a mechanic.

"It’s about empowering the women to do it themselves, " Mr Forsyth said.

Wahine on Wheels student Leila George, of Dunedin, said often people working in the motoring industry ignored women, assuming they had no mechanical know-how.

The workshops were "empowering" because women could be treated badly when dealing with people in the motoring industry, she said.

Whanau Ora navigator Fiona Sinclair said she thought of the idea for the Whanau Ora workshop after she had a bad experience after seeking a quote from a mechanic to fix a leak in her car.

"They charged me $580 for job I did not ask for and I thought ‘How can we stop this happening’ and suggested it to Leisa [Dunedin Training Centre manager Leisa Roos], and she ... ran with it."

Mrs Roos said when Miss Sinclair pitched the idea she thought it was "wonderful".


Add a Comment



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter