Engineers Vie to Show The World Their Skills

4 July 2012

Four of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s brightest engineering talents will this week be competing for the chance to show their skills on the world stage.

The four are taking part in the new ATTTO Aircraft Maintenance category of the national final of the World Skills event. The final is taking place on 5-7 July at the CPIT Trades Innovation Institute, Ensors Rd, Christchurch.

ATTTO and RNZAF have joined forces to hold this section of the competition for New Zealand and the aviation sector. This is the first time this category has been held in New Zealand, although it has been a long standing category internationally.

In 2012 RNZAF competitors will be competing for the chance to join the ‘Tool Blacks’ team representing their country at the global final in Leipzig, Germany in 2013. At this event they will face competitors from across the aviation sector.

The skill competition sees young people, accompanied by their teachers and trainers, gather together to compete publicly in the skills of their respective trades, and also to test themselves against demanding international standards. They represent the best of their peers drawn from the eight NZ regional skill competitions.

The finalists are all Leading Aircraftsmen and were nominated by their commanders. They are:

  • Julian Huzinga, 23, originally from Bucklands Beach, Auckland. He is an Aircraft Technician, maintaining the C-130 Hercules and Boeing 757 aircraft, and is based with 40 Squadron in Auckland.
  • Charles Lasenby, 23, originally from Singapore. He is a Leading Aircraftman, Aircraft technician, maintaining the A109 Helicopter, and is based at RNZAF Base Ohakea.
  • Mike West, originally from Feilding, Manawatu. He is an Aircraft Propulsion Systems Technician based at RNZAF Base Auckland.
  • Hamish Ward, originally from Wellington. He is a Medium Utility Helicopter Aircraft Technician based at RNZAF Base Ohakea.

They will be tested on aircraft structures, engine component replacement, daily inspections, control management and engine inspection.

Gold and silver prizes will be awarded to the top competitors by Debbie Martindale, Deputy Chief Executive of ATTTO and Wing Commander Peter King of the RNZAF. The gold winner will then go on to represent New Zealand in Germany in July 2013.

Debbie Martindale, Deputy Chief Executive at ATTTO said: “We wish these four great candidates all the very best as they head to Christchurch this week. It’s wonderful to see this aircraft maintenance category now open in New Zealand under the sponsorship of ATTTO and RNZAF. Competitions like World Skills are perfect for us to support as they highlight the quality and variety of trades throughout the country.

“ATTTO works closely with the RNZAF to ensure that all their staff are trained to world leading standards fit to meet the challenge of a complex and critical job.

“It will be a great opportunity for our winner to go and compete with top engineers from throughout the world, and hopefully contribute to the success of the NZ ToolBlacks team.”

For more information about the World Skills competition visit and for more information about jobs and training in aviation and the RNZAF, visit



This page was last reviewed on 4 July 2012.