top of page

MAST Academy Graduation

Tall man taking selfy with 2 females

It has been a time of connections and celebration for MAST, our industry partners and importantly, our apprentices. Marking the completion of their apprenticeship, graduates were recognised for their achievements at the MAST Graduation on 14 March at Auckland’s Royal NZ Yacht Squadron.

Celebrating alongside our graduates were all who have supported them throughout their training to obtain their trade qualification, including the MAST Training Advisors. “It’s a journey of opportunities and challenges – all of which shape their personal and professional growth,” says MAST Training Advisor Robert Howatson. “We’re extremely proud to shake their hand as they receive their qualification certificate.”

The strong presence of marine-related industries (including composite and industrial textiles) at our graduation event, highlighted the interconnectedness and collaboration essential for developing skilled tradespeople in our sectors.

Large gathering of people seated at an event

“It was a fantastic evening celebrating the achievements of our newest industry graduates! Recognising their hard work and the diverse talent across the trades in front of 220 guests and industry peers was extremely rewarding for those who have supported their journey. It’s reassuring to know that the future of the industries is bright with such talent.”  Chris van der Hor, MAST CEO

MAST graduates are from a diverse range of marine industries covering all areas of boatbuilding, composites, marina operations & marina facilities, marine systems engineering, outboard servicing, powerboat rigging, industrial textiles, marine coatings, marine interiors, and sail making.

Graduate Andrea Rosenbaum from F50 League NZ Ltd, spoke of her journey and that there are no boundaries to what can be achieved. She was grateful to the MAST Academy training saying her training with MAST “allowed her to learn, not only how it is done, but why.” Beginning her apprenticeship with SailGP, Andrea received the APEX Achievement Award for outstanding achievement at the cutting edge of technology. Sponsored by digital innovation company Waxeye, Andrea also received two virtual reality headsets.

A table of people at an event

People socialising outside on deck at a marina

Before presenting the special awards, guest speaker, and one of New Zealand’s most respected sportsmen, Rob Waddell inspired both graduates and guests alike with key areas of his success and motivations.

Each award sponsor spoke of the winner's outstanding attributes and recognised for their forward thinking and mentorship were the winners of Outstanding Marine Graduate, Jay MacDonald from Gulfland Marine and Outstanding Composite Graduate, Joshua Court of Buckland Marine.

The Dale Carnegie Emerging Leader Award went to Ethan Holland of Makaria Boats for his determination and commitment to producing high-quality work. 

MAST Training was proud to sponsor one of the two Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) awarded to Courteney Fox. The second RYLA award for the week-long leadership programme was given to Hunter McKay-Coombe by Lesley McLagan of the Rotary Club of Highbrook. 

People standing and clapping at an event

In addition, MAST recognises those who train within the workplace, the supervisors and leaders who mentor support and encourage the continuity of quality. This year’s Workplace Trainer Award went to Gavin Bickers from Stabibuild in Warkworth.

The MAST graduation event was not only a celebration of individual achievements. It was also an occasion to recognise and appreciate the collective efforts of all those involved in developing talent and fostering excellence within our marine and specialised technology industries.

people standing with awards

Top left to right

  1. Outstanding Marine Graduate for 2023: Jay MacDonald (right), Gulfland Marine, presented by Phil Alexander-Crawford of Hanga-Aro-Rau.

  2. Outstanding Composite Graduate for 2023: Joshua Court (left), Buckland Marine, presented by Professor Mark Battley of Composites Association of NZ (CANZ) 

  3. Apex Achievement Award: Andrea Rosenbaum, sponsored by Waxeye.

  4. Workplace Trainer Award: Gavin Bickers (right) presented by Joe Daw, MAST

Lower left to right

  1. Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA): Hunter McKay Coombe (right), Trev Terry Marine, presented by Lesley McLagan of the Rotary Club of Highbrook.

  2. Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA): Courteney Fox, Trev Terry Marine, presented by Chris van der Hor, Chief Executive, MAST Academy

  3. Dale Carnegie Emerging Leader Award: Ethan Holland (left) presented by Brett MacLeod

Auckland Boat Show


People standing and talking at an event

MAST had a stand at the Auckland Boat Show, where we highlighted the apprenticeships we offer. The stand had the boat built by the Lees Boat Builders apprentices (designed by Mike Birdsall MAST Training Advisor) during an in-house workshop MAST ran for Lees apprentices. It was great to see people who had travelled far to attend both the boat show and the MAST Graduation.

The competition to name the three tools we had on the stand attracted lots of discussion and some ‘interesting’ answers. For those of you who didn’t win or didn’t know what they were the answers were:

  • Coving tool (used by composite boat builders/composites)

  • Digital vernier callipers (used by marine systems engineers)

  • A spark card (used by outboard technicians)

The winner was: Maxine Neustrosler from Gisborne who was very excited to win the Webber Baby Q. 


bottom of page