Our Stories • Volume One
What do you do?
My name is Cruise Tuakura and I’m a self-taught Web3 Developer. I work at Sylo.io and I build front ends for Web3 applications like crypto and stuff like that in the future verse.
That's super interesting! How did you get into tech?
So, I started in the Air Force. I was terrible at high school. I was the worst and didn’t pass school. I got up to halfway through seventh form, and I was like, what am I doing with my life? And then a guy said - "Some guys I have will train you up for free. We'll give you this for free. Everything for free, if you come down to Blenhim for training.". I didn’t even know where Blenhim was. I went, trained up in the Air Force and it was probably the best move I ever made in my life. It gave me a trade, I travelled the world twice. My degree and my masters in Engineering were all paid for.
In the Air Force I learnt to apply myself. For me, that’s believing in yourself that you can do it. That was the biggest thing. In the Air Force, they pretty much break you down and then they rebuild you, strip the egos away, and then they just build you up into a military person. After that, I passed. I think it was passing something, I passed something really big in my life and from there I was like, what else can I do?
No one in our family had really achieved. No one in our family were business owners, doctors, entrepreneurs - except for my dad. My dad was a Stallman in warehousing and built his own logistics company. He was the first person that broke out and actually did it, so me and my brother were like “We can do it.”.
After the masters, I built an online programme. It was an online marketplace for personal trainers. I went to Hatch - Hatch helped me build it. And then I was like, man, what if I could build it? Coding was a big one. I knew coding was tough and would be a massive learning curve, but I just wondered maybe I could do it.
That’s awesome! What's your drive now? What's your why?
My why right now is more brown people in the space. At the start of the year I did some soul searching, trying to find that thing that was bigger than myself. It didn’t come straight away. You’ve got to do a lot of things, and then it pieces together. By doing a whole lot of things, testing things, talking to people, it all meshes together and then you build your why - and my why was to bring more brown people into the space by leading the way and pioneering forward.
At the moment, I’m making TikToks to visually show every step of the way. I’ve made a whole series about everything I do. I want it to be in a way where people can just watch it and go “If this brown dude from West Auckland can, then I can.”. That’s why I keep pushing. And I just keep trying to demystify how hard it is, because you can push through anything.
Lastly, what’s the mantra, proverb or words that you carry with you as you’re navigating challenges?
I’m doing this for my people. That’s what it is. They say you need something bigger than yourself to like, not die for, but close to it. But that’s when you start your work. When I first made my TikTok series, I kept on it, then I started “How to get a job in tech in 120 days”. That was a lightbulb moment where it took off and everyone was following and following. And from there I’ve seen so many Islanders come out and say “Bro, I’m doing the same thing.”.
Now, I sort of use TikTok as the north star. This week, I’ve met three other Islanders doing the same thing. It took me 96 days to get a job in tech. Everyone was like, “Bro, you did it? You did it!”. It was good that happened because they could see, okay, you can do it. The thing that I lean on is that it’s not just for you. You have to break that ceiling. That’s why I do it.