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Vanuatu orchard workers in Central Otago learning carpentry skills to help with post-cyclone rebuild back home

Central Otago orchard workers from Vanuatu are taking part in an exercise to boost their carpentry skills in the wake of last year's devastating Cyclone Pam.

The initiative comes after Cyclone Pam obliterated many dwellings in Vanuatu, highlighting a need for better construction techniques. Source: 1 NEWS

The initiative comes after the cyclone obliterated many dwellings in the Pacific Islands nation highlighting the need for better construction techniques.

Otago Polytech carpentry lecturer Brian Turner has been in Vanuatu since the cyclone and saw the need to upskill those who will man the rebuild.

"I think it's fantastic. It's good to see the people benefiting from these boys working in their industry are giving a bit back," says Mr Turner.

They're being taught skills such as how to strengthen a building against cyclone force winds.

Doing things on a budget and with limited materials is part of the thinking during the weekly classes in Cromwell.

"When they're here working they save their money but they want to build big strong houses," says Vanuatu orchard worker Peter Bumseng.

The training scheme is a collaborative effort set up by the vineyards and orchards that employ the workers along with tutoring from Otago Polytech.

Materials have been provided by local building firms and financial help has been provided by the Ministery of Foreign Affairs and Trade.