Maria O'Brien

Maria O'Brien

Finding Passion Along the Way

Some of us know what we want to be from a young age. But many of us, like Maria O’Brien, discover our passions by living life, trying new things and opening ourselves up to adventure. 

Born in Te Puke and raised in Tauranga, Maria enrolled for our New Zealand Certificate in Maritime Crewing (Level 2) and went on to complete the New Zealand Certificate in Domestic Maritime Crewing (Level 3) in September. She says she’s always loved going out on the water, and when her friend enrolled for the course, she followed suit. 

But little did she know this decision would open her world and provide her with a raft of career opportunities to steer her life in a new adventurous direction. 

“I have three beautiful adult children, who I enjoyed raising, but it was time for me to forge my own path. My friend suggested the maritime course at Toi Ohomai, and I thought it would be a good new challenge, so I enrolled,” says Maria. 

After finishing her final exam, Maria secured a job as a cabin attendant on The Interislander Ferry in Wellington. She says the skills she learned at Toi Ohomai helped propel her ahead in her on-job training.

“We were all given training when I started, and I was able to skip forward as I had already completed the STCW-10 as part of my Toi Ohomai course, which definitely gave me a slight advantage.”

“Initially, I wanted to go on commercial cruise liners, but I saw the job advert for The Interislander and jumped at the opportunity to be able to work closer to home and more regular shifts.”

Maria says she would like to stay on The Interislander and work her way up. 

“I love where I’ve ended up; I love my journey and telling people about it. It shows you that it’s never too late to start. For anyone considering study, no matter where you’re at in life, I would say go for it!”