Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti
6 mins ago
Cristobal Yarza training on the job at Gisborne Honda
When Cristobal Yarza left his home in Santiago, Chile, he never imagined he would end up being a student at EIT in Gisborne.
But that was before he met and married Katerina Ngarimu.
“I came here on a working holiday and was going to go to Australia and Europe with my brother but as soon as I came to Gisborne I met my girl and never left,” he said.
At home Cristobal was a journalist, working in television and being on call seven days a week.
He was burnt out by what was becoming a stressful metropolitan lifestyle.
“In a city of 7 million people the traffic jams were something you would not find in New Zealand – Auckland does not even come close,” he said.
“I wanted a sabbatical and see what would come out of it.”
He came to Gisborne while on a working visa and enjoyed working in local orchards and vineyards. But after a while, with a growing little family, he decided he wanted more.
At one of his jobs he discovered he really enjoyed working with engines and, after discussing it with Katerina, decided to enrol at EIT to study for an automotive trade national certificate course.
Although he loved the learning, he discovered that juggling studies with a young family was quite hard work.
“I did as much of my homework as I could at EIT and the rest had to wait until about 11.30 in the evenings.”
Luckily tutors were very supportive of students’ family needs and Cristobal was able to get through his first year with flying colours. So much so that he was offered an apprenticeship at Gisborne Honda. There he discovered a real passion for motorbikes and quad bikes.
”When I went to EIT I did not think about motorbikes – it was more about cars and trucks and diesel engines. When this came along I fell in love with it – I really like working with motorbikes. What I like about this is that even though it’s practical, I am still having to use my head to understand what is wrong with an engine.”
He and Katerina now have four children – three girls and a boy and Cristobal is loving his life here.
“You can’t find this kind of lifestyle in Chile – the quality of life here is much better.”