Dad Darren earns degree


A Queenstowner who quit school after the fifth form called on his life experiences this year to gain a management degree.

Darren Rewi, Air New Zealand’s local airport ramp manager, says he’s missed out on jobs because he didn’t have a degree despite 30 years in the workforce.

“School certificate started to be internally assessed in my year so I didn’t even get a certificate before going straight to the freezing works in Invercargill.”

But this month, after less than a year’s study, Rewi, 46, was capped with a Bachelor of Applied Management through Otago Poly­technic’s Centre for Assessment of Prior Learning.

The course mainly consisted of preparation for a four-hour presentation in September before a panel comprising two polytech business school lecturers, an accountant and a lawyer.

The father-of-six presented portfolios on five topics and the panel also peppered him with questions.

Three topics were work-related, covering his ramp manager’s job, and two initiatives that Air NZ has picked up and employed elsewhere – a health and safety programme, based on injury-free work practices, and the manning of the airline’s Koru Lounge.

“I did a business case to man the Koru Lounge and make it profitable – beforehand it generated complaints, not revenue.”

Rewi also did presentations on soccer – he coached five teams this year – and his own life story.

Rewi detailed his voluntary work including iwi representation on the local Primary Health Organisation and the establishment board for Frankton’s new Remarkables Primary.

At his capping ceremony Rewi wore a Maori cloak that’s been in his family for 109 years.

Rewi follows in the footsteps of another Queenstowner, Stefan Crawford, who graduated last year in the same degree – a Bachelor of Applied Management, also majoring in strategic management – through the Otago Polytechnic.

Local hotelier Donna Stewart will study for the same degree next year, but will major in hospitality management.