Taurus Taurima is the managing director of Topline Contracting, a self owned business based in Omahu Rd in Hastings which specialises in all types of residential and commercial concrete work, asphalt and chip seal, civil construction, earthworks, landscaping and excavation.

Topline Contracting was established in 2016 by Taurus, who identified a gap in the market for specialising in small commercial and residential contracting projects in Hawke's Bay.

Taurus had been in the industry for more than a decade, working for other local contractor businesses, starting out as a labourer and worked his way to operations manager. It was always Taurus' ambition to have his own business and to create opportunities for others.

In a short time Topline Contracting has become a preferred subcontractor to the likes of Higgins and Fulton Hogan, among others, as well as undertaking lead contractor on a range of commercial, residential and works and services projects across Hawke's Bay.

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With the business on a growth trajectory, some key appointments are upping the professionalism of the business.

Some staff are being trained into management roles while Taurus and contracts manager Daryll Pugh are driving the business into more challenging projects.

Part of Taurus' challenge has been to find opportunities to train his workers to help them gain the certification they need to work.

After seeking direction from the iwi and getting nowhere, he learned about EIT's Te Ara o Takitimu Trades Training programme and the sponsorship opportunities and relationship with Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated.

He spoke to the iwi's chief executive Chrissie Hape, who introduced him to Errol Kalmansci, offender recruitment consultant for Corrections, and Tuhakia Keepa, executive director of Māori at EIT Hawke's Bay.

Tuhakia and Lee Kershaw – co-ordinator of Te Ara o Takitimu - met with Taurus and have signed up his team on the Te Ara o Takitimu Trades Training scheme at EIT which is a free trades training opportunity for Māori/Pacific Islanders.

Errol Kalmansci has also been able to refer some of his clients from Corrections to Topline Contracting and the opportunities have been amazing.

Taurus has been happy to take on men from the Ministry of Social Development and Corrections to give them the opportunity to get back into mahi/work.

"This is not the ideal situation for anyone in business, but most of these men don't get the chance they deserve," says Taurus.

He goes on to say, "My main focus is to point them in the right direction and to create opportunities for these men, most of whom are young Māori fathers, to become achievers and good examples for their children."

On November 12 EIT held a mihi whakatau / welcome for the Topline Contracting workers to celebrate their relationship with EIT Hawke's Bay as they start their journey forward.

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated acknowledges Taurus Taurima, Topline Contracting, EIT Hawke's Bay and Corrections for collaborating their needs to meet the needs of our whānau in the community.