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Papua New Guinean Female Trainee Pilots Take To Skies in NZ

14 April 2014

Papua New Guinean Female Trainee Pilots Take To the Skies in New Zealand

Four specially selected young women from Papua New Guinea are embarking on the opportunity of a lifetime – training to become commercial pilots.

The women start a 68-week course today to secure a New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority Commercial Pilot Licence and Multi-engine Instrument Rating at Nelson Aviation College (NAC), Nelson.

The women are able to take up the course thanks to full sponsorship from the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Central Province Governor Hon. Kila Haoda. The innovative move is part of a plan by the Central Province Government to raise the education and perception of women in the country. The were selected and appointed by an expert panel including NAC’s Chief Flying Instructor, Jeremy Anderson, and several representatives from Air Niugini.

The women’s progress towards gaining a pilot’s licence is being publicised in PNG so that they can act as role models in a country where only around five per cent of women are in waged employment [*].

Central Province Governor Hon Kila Haoda said: ‘It is important in PNG and especially in the Central Province that I promote gender equality, in an industry that is dominated with males. I’m proud of this initiative and I thank NELSON AVIATION for partnering with me and the people of Central Province of PNG.’

Trainee pilot Marie Auka said: ‘We are proud to be selected as pioneer female cadets under the Central Female Pilot Scholarship Programme. This is not only a milestone but an honour and a privilege for us. We are still adjusting to the cold weather, however we are enjoying the hospitality and the friendly nature of people all around us. We hope to learn a lot about the culture and the people of New Zealand as well as learning how to fly.’

*Source: UNESCO Country Programming Document for Papua New Guinea 2008-2013. It also records adult female literacy at 44% and secondary education for women to age 15 as 38%.

About Nelson Aviation College
Nelson Aviation College is a preferred Air New Zealand Flight Training Organisation and has been training pilots for the aviation industry since 1978 at Motueka Aerodrome. Consistently high pass rates and a maximum instructor to student ratio of 1:4 ensures safe, quality instruction throughout each phase of training. Around 80% of their students are from New Zealand, with the remaining 20% coming from overseas. Find out more at


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