Hailing from Honiara, Solomon Islands, Pacific Corporation Foundation (PCF) Summer intern Ms. Lania Temahua joins fellow intern Sela Maka in debunking the myth that engineering is a male-only field.
Lania is currently interning at Auckland Council and is studying a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (majoring in Civil Engineering) at UNITEC.
As the only girl out of her three siblings, Lania was raised to believe that her gender should not set limitations on what she wanted to do in life. Parts of her childhood was spent in Rockhampton, Australia but her family soon moved back to the islands following the birth of her little brother.
Her family remains in the Solomon Islands to this day.
"My mother works at Solomon Telekom as the HR Manager and my father runs his own engineering business called Diesel Services. My mother is from Temotu and Makira Province and my father is from Rennell, Bellona and Western Province."
Surprisingly, Lania had no intentions to pursue engineering, in fact she wasn't sure what she wanted to do. However, that completely changed when her father saw the opportunities that could emerge from her talents and passions.
"My father introduced me to civil engineering when I had no idea what I wanted to become in the future," she says
"I sought advice from him when I was form six. Informing him of my favourite subjects, he suggested five occupations and told me to do some research on them and see which one I found most interesting."
"Civil engineering was the one that caught my attention the most and with more readings about it I became curious and kept asking questions."
"I learnt that aunty was our country's first female civil engineer and that inspired me even more."
The major problems the Solomon Islands face according to Lania are lack of management and treatment of stormwater as well as availability of water in rural areas/villages.
"The level of management and control of stormwater is very poor that when there is high excess of rain, flooding occurs especially in the main town of Honiara."
"I hope to solve this issue with an idea of constructing a system of catchments which collects the stormwater runoffs and divert it into detention tanks that can then be treated and released back into the environment without adding more load onto the receiving environment and disturbing the natural water cycle."
"Secondly, the accessibility of water. Many villages and rural areas in the provinces within Solomon Islands do not have water accessibility."
"Villagers would have to walk to other villages or to water sources near or miles away to fetch water. An example is my own home village in Munda, Western Province. There are no water supplies, the people rely on rainwater, wells or freshwater springs."
"I hope to solve this problem by finding a good and reliable natural water source, install a water storage system, treat the water and direct it through a water pipe system that will carry the water to each village so that water can be made available."
Looking back, Lania has come a long way from not knowing what she wanted to do to becoming a civil engineer in the making, something she says is proud of.
"Where I am today is my proudest achievement," she states
"Given the situations I have faced back in the islands especially with limited resources for education and limited opportunities, to get this far in life and achieve something has made me more confident about where I'm headed."
"This of course would not be possible if it weren't for my parents. Growing up and watching them struggle to make ends meet and making sure my siblings and I have the necessities needed is something I will not forget,"
"Leadership is a quality they both carry out very well in which they always try their best to make things happen for their children's demands along with their families and extended family."
"They work very hard to make sure my siblings and I are happy, and I will always be in awe of them.