Damien Amopiu

Course Attended: Civil Plant Operation (Specialist Large Plant)

My name is Damien Alexander Amopiu and I am of Tainui/Raukawa descent.  I am the second eldest of eight children.  Growing up we moved a lot between Auckland and my home town of Putaruru.

Education during my early years was pretty much non-existent until we were taken away from our parents by Social Welfare and placed with another family.  Having no role models growing up really affected me and my early years of education.

It was not until I moved back with my maternal grandmother that I got the support that I desperately needed, but by then the damage had already been done.  It took me a long time to learn the basics that most kids learn in their first few years of schooling which in turn made me frustrated when it came to learning during my later years of Primary and then Intermediate.  High School wasn’t any better for me as I ended up going off the rails and leaving school at the age of 15.

I did a few courses here and there but never really committed to them.  By the age of 18 years I was working all of types of different jobs such as Timber Manufacturing, Forestry, Fruit picking, Weed spraying, Construction etc.

As I got older the lack of education greatly improved on me getting a high paying job or stability in the job I was working in.  I always felt there was a job out there that I felt I had to be really good at but had lack of experience or training in.

Being on the Civil Plant Operations program with Tai Poutini Polytechnic has given me the opportunity to upskill and be in an industry that I thoroughly enjoy.

I am a solo father and my goal is to make a better future for my three children and to be a positive role model.  Our future is already looking bright …. This is only the beginning of an exciting journey – stay tuned.


“Ko te manu e kai ana I te miro nona te ngahere.

“Ko te manu e kai ana I te matauranga non ate ao”


“The bird that eats of the miro berry – his is the forest.

“The bird that eats of knowledge – his is the world.”