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Division of Humanities Profiles

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Abby Suszko

I used the Foreshore and Seabed Debate as a case study to unearth the equality and rights arguments that New Zealanders employ…

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Adon Moskal

"While it definitely helps to be a performer, you don't necessarily have to be able to perform to be a good producer... I am living proof of that!"

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Alana Bird

“The programme was a perfect combination of theory and practical – it allowed me to put my new knowledge and understanding into practice."

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Albert Green

"I have been exposed to new ideas and new knowledge that have challenged life-long, and now outdated, prejudices."

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Alison Kearsley

"Gaining the Certificate in Catechetical Studies was a huge benefit for me when looking for jobs; it gave me an instant edge over other applicants."

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Amanda Navaratne

“The projects I’ve worked on during my internships have enabled me to collaborate with some extraordinarily intelligent, inspiring individuals"

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Amie Taua

“My thesis topic, is a pilot study that looks to develop the foundation for a Bicultural Audience Reception theory in a New Zealand context". Audience Reception theory, Amie explains, suggests that the way a reader/viewer interprets a piece of creative work is influenced by the structure of their cultural background and subsequent life experiences.

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Amir Bastani

I chose the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago for my PhD, as it is one of the few places I know of with an ideal research center...

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Andrew Barnett

“It’s very rewarding to experience that light-bulb moment when a student gets what you’re teaching them.”

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Angela Wanhalla

"It's about reviving and reconstructing communities and looking at personal experiences"

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Anji Sami

For musician Anji Sami, the great appeal of coming to Dunedin was that it was far away and she didn’t know anything about it.

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Anna Leese

"In Dunedin if you do well there are so many opportunities to be in the lime-light."

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Anna Woods

"Studying Chinese has truly provided me with a wealth of opportunities and will ensure my working life will be filled with varied and fascinating challenges."

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Ashleigh Adair

"There are things I learned during my time at Otago that I now rely on all the time, such as the ability to analyse audience insights, write strategic communications plans and present to rooms full of people."

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Belinda Craigie

“Communication is paramount to everything we do. It’s important – not to mention fascinating – to learn about the history and development of communication and the power of the media."

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Blair Grant

“Doing three different subjects means you can't fall into the intellectual biases of any one discipline - you're forced to be a critical thinker when the different subjects sometimes tell you different things, or at least, emphasize different aspects of the same problem."

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Byron Sanders

“My Education Studies degree gave me a holistic view of what education is and a global view of what it could be."

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Cameron Toogood

As a future doctor in New Zealand or overseas, Cameron hopes that the understanding of Chinese culture he is developing will improve the standard of care that he can provide to these communities.

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Can Cinar

“Credit rating agencies – those financial institutions that rate financial security for countries, governments, companies and individuals  – have huge power, and that’s what I’m really interested in."

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Candace Hill

Although getting an interview can be about who you know, once you are in front of the employer it’s only about what you know.

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Carolijn van Noort

Researching the "stories" of infrastructure projects gives insights into the aspirations of emerging countries, and their drive towards a new world order, says Politics PhD student Carolijn van Noort.

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Chanelle Carrick

Chanelle Carrick is a big fan of contemporary New Zealand art and photography. But it's the artists themselves she's keen to work with.

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Charles Boulton

Uni doesn't always need to be about training for a specific job or future, it can also be about learning to think critically in a range of ways.

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Charles Radclyffe

Charles Radclyffe got hooked on archaeology during a gap year volunteering at excavation sites in the UK and in the Solomon Islands where he was born and grew up.

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Charles Rowe

"My advice to anyone considering Chinese at Otago: mastering Mandarin opens doors!"

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Charlotte Payne

"The teaching practice was so emotionally and mentally rewarding that it always provided me with renewed determination to succeed.”

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Charlotte Stace

The variety of enriching experiences I had as an Art History and Theory student at Otago equipped me with the right skills to follow my dream of working within the museum and art gallery sector.

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Chloe Baillie

Speaking another language opens up so many great opportunities for learning, communicating and expressing ourselves, and the cultures that go hand in hand with the Spanish spoken in different places are captivating to learn about and experience.

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Chris Brickell

Professor Chris Brickell’s research may investigate the historical context of Gender Studies, but his teaching is bang up to the minute.

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Claire Auchinvole

One of the great things about Geography, according to second-year honours student Claire Auchinvole, is the scope it offers for a good argument.

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Claire Green

I was an associate within a large Auckland commercial law firm, with three young children, often thinking how much I would like to return…

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Claire Lindsay

Planning is really about getting on with people, looking at the bigger picture and how the planning rules fit into this.

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Climate changing identities

"I am interested in the social impact of climate change on the governance and identity with cultural landscapes."

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Dana Lumsden

Without an Honours degree, and the experiences I gained from studying at Otago, I would not have landed a job within the media industry as quickly as I did, and I am thankful to the Department for all of its support.

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Danielle Lucas

Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) graduate Danielle Lucas says studying at Otago was the perfect preparation for work as a policy analyst at the New Zealand Treasury.

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Del Carlini

The core question of Del’s thesis is what enhances the ability of an armed force to adapt during conflict and what slows, disrupts or hinders that ability.

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Dr Elisabeth Liebert

Elisabeth Liebert’s Master’s degree led her deep into the world of John Milton, which in turn led her to Otago’s John Hale, an international authority on the renaissance poet. So when she embarked on her PhD, it was her choice of supervisor that brought her – intellectually, at least – to Otago.

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Dr Matthew Stephen

I accepted the invitation to the honours programme believing that Politics offered me the best chances to extend my intellectual horizons while also keeping a toe in the door of employability.

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Dr Paul Roche

Undertaking a PhD in an area with few job prospects was both a help and a hindrance for Paul Roche.

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Dr Rawinia Higgins

Leaving her whanau was the most important, and most painful, aspect of coming to Otago for her postgraduate years, says Dr Rawinia Higgins.

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Dr Robert Peden

If Robert Peden had his way, he would start on another PhD tomorrow. “I loved every minute of it,” he says. “It was an absolute privilege. It was one of the most challenging, rewarding, satisfying and interesting things I have ever done.”

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Dr Rosemary Overell

Dr Rosemary Overell’s research ranges from extreme death metal music in Japan to how ‘hoarders’ are represented on television.

Duncan Sarkies

"It’s my opinion that the Otago University Theatre Studies programme provides the best practical ‘on-your-feet’ introductory training for theatre in New Zealand.”
Duncan Sarkies

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Elizabeth Young

Because a degree in Religious Studies covers so many different religious and cultural practices and beliefs, I am able to really connect with my clients as I actually know and understand where they come from and why they believe what they believe and do what they do.

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Ella Gordon-Latty

“Studying Politics gave me one of the most powerful insights – it enabled me to understand the mechanics of power."

Ellen Pullar

"I've always been a bit of a film geek so was excited to be able to watch a variety of different types of films and learn more about how films are put together."

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Eman Ghandour

After finishing her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the end of last year, Eman started working as a Youth Case Worker for the Dunedin Red Cross, focused on how best to settle former refugee youth into New Zealand and into Dunedin.

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Enacting Māori leadership

Merata’s research activities have over-arching themes of supporting Māori leadership, community and education.

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Erica Buxton

“The great thing about the Treasury is that it’s a relatively flat structure. You get opportunities that are quite rare in graduate jobs.”

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Erin Wilson

“I am now a qualified teacher but I’m still learning - the children teach me something new every day."

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Fanaafi Aiono-Le Tagaloa

The study of law as well as its practice fosters a particular type of individual and personality – one Fanaafi Aiono-Le Tagaloa…

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Filipo Levi

Filipo Levi says "it was very hard at the beginning", fitting in university studies with his rugby playing. Nonetheless, plenty of hard work, determination and support ensured success.

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Franky Maslin

"I really loved learning about the law and its many possibilities to shape and mould so many real-life scenarios."

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Garrick Cowley

Within a year of graduating from Otago with his LLB, Garrick Cowley found himself on an international stage facing his biggest legal…

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Gemma Feeney

“There’s something special about the College of Education; the small cohort means you build really strong relationships with your fellow students and with the lecturers.”

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Geoffrey Miller

"I'm now able to work on translations from anywhere in the world as a freelance translator, which is amazing".

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Gianna Leoni

Gianna Leoni is researching attitudes towards te reo in Government departments.

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Griffin Leonard

"We’re very lucky to have the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago and I feel fortunate to be able to do postgraduate study here."

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Gwynaeth McIntyre

"Personally, I love the politics, the intrigue, the murder and mayhem of the Roman imperial period."

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Harry Saunderson-Warner

"Studying social anthropology gave me the ability to look at the world in a new way."

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Ian Chapman

"We’re teaching the three disciplines and how they interact. What students turn their skills to then is up to them."

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Ingrid Ambrosiussen

“My time studying the Bachelor of Teaching was some of the most valuable years of my life."

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Jackie Shaw

"Otago had a great mix of practical skills and theory and you knew you were being taught by the best. All the lecturers have been (and some still are) in the industry, continuously developing themselves."

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Janis Cheng

“The reason I can speak confidently or write an essay overnight is purely because of Theatre Studies at Otago."

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Jenifer Lamie

I came to Otago to study because I loved the multi-disciplinarity of the Master of International Studies degree.

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Jessie Garland

We’re making significant discoveries about what life was like in 19th century Christchurch as we collect artefacts from all kinds of archaeological sites.

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Joanne Lee

My time working on the undergraduate paper was the catalyst for my decision to undertake a Master’s degree and pursue a full year of research.

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John Garthwaite

“Video games are full of Spartans. Hercules and Xena have their own TV shows. They are great characters and great stories.”

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Jon Keyzer

“My time here has shed light on what I can do and what I am capable of, I wouldn’t have known that without my supervisor, without my department and without a community of supporting peers.”

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Jonathan Dufour

The museums, the many art galleries and the people I encountered in Paris all made it worthwhile.

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Jonathan Zsofi

“The department is brilliant and the teaching was excellent. My mind was opened by MFCO, it introduced me to new perspectives on film and life.”

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Jordan Dickson

“The knowledge of what has come before me and what is happening in theatres around the globe, inspires and informs my own practice constantly."

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Joseph Panapa

"I had many transferrable skills, gained from family, my culture, working in factories, playing sport and living in South Auckland, that enabled me to relate to the content in the social work papers."

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Joy Kwok

A degree in Linguistics provided the perfect foundation for Otago graduate Joy Kwok to pursue a career in speech therapy.

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Kacy Cosgrove

“I now have the ability to mix sciences and humanities together, and bridge the gap between humans and technology.”

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Kate Newton

Kate found English helped her with journalism by driving home the power of the written or spoken word.

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“My research highlights the peaceful vision that many of our tīpuna held for a brighter future for their mokopuna (grandchildren).”

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Kelly Nafatali

“Taking Māori Studies has been a journey in self-discovery – who I am and where I come from."

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Lani Alo

“I wanted the right course for the type of music that I do and that I want to do when I’m older, and I found that at Otago.”

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Laura Fraser

When you choose to study law at Otago, you choose to receive exposure to world class teaching and a wide range of stimulating subjects

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Lauren Chambers

"I decided to make Classics my major at Otago because it combines everything I am interested in: literature, history, languages, art, and mythology as well as architecture and archaeology."

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Laurie Evans

“The Master of International Studies gives you a skill set that lets you tackle a whole host of problems."

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Learning in the dark

The revival of an ancient Māori method of teaching in the dark has had spectacular results for Dr Karyn Paringatai and her students.

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Learning in the dark

The revival of an ancient maori method of teaching in the dark has had spectacular results for Dr Karyn Paringatai and her students.

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Leesa McKay

“Studying was one of the best choices I’ve made, early childhood education is an awesome career and all I can say is I wouldn’t change it for the world, I may have finished studying but my learning journey is far from over.”

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Leigh Clutterbuck Young

“Geography at university is very different from school … there are so many subjects we had never touched on.”

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Lesieli Seaton

“I highly recommend the Te Pōkai programme because you will not only go on a journey of learning to be a teacher but you will discover a new sense of identity. Teaching kaupapa maori starts with knowing who you are and valuing your own history."

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Liam McIlvanney

“If you want to study literature you have an advantage if you write.”

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Libby Hamilton

"Studying contemporary music really opened my eyes to the intricate craftsmanship behind writing a good song."

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Lloyd Burr

I work with some of the country’s most experienced and renowned journalists for New Zealand’s biggest multi-media company – my future is bright and Otago is where it all started.

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Lucie Humphries

“I loved the learning, particularly learning to understand young children’s behaviour and how to recognise when and why they are frustrated or angry; basically learning about how they learn."

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Lucy Carter

Sociology and the humanities are important subjects because they teach you about ethics.

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Lucy Clark

The research skills and critical thinking I developed in my undergraduate degree have been invaluable to my work.

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Luke Gardener

“I wouldn’t have studied anywhere elsewhere in New Zealand. I was taught by people who had previously held roles in governments, including the ex-foreign affairs minister of Afghanistan, and academics who are internationally renowned for their work. Otago is a great place to study.”

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Luke Minford

“English teaches you how to read, not just for the sake of reading but to get the most out of it, which is an incredibly powerful skill."

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Lydia White

"Along with language papers I also had the opportunity to discover many facets of German culture, inlcuding German literature, history, philosophy, and art."

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Macaela Joyes

“I would really encourage more students to think about completing HUMS301. It was a really perfect paper to finish off my politics study because I was able to see themes and theories I had studied since my first year in action."

Margaretha Small-Smith

"Through studying Spanish, I developed an appreciation for communicating with more than words."

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Mariam Abdul-Dayyem

“Social media is challenging traditional sociology because the socialisation isn’t happening face to face – its virtual. It’s interesting to see how sociology can adapt and deal with these changes.”

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Marica Frost

“My studies were excellent preparation for my role as a Refugee and Protection Officer with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment."

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Mary Foley

Otago Law Faculty was the obvious choice, its reputation for collegiality and academic excellence being well founded.

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Matiu Payne

I’m working full-time so I chose postgraduate study via distance because I could fit it in with my work

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Megan Anderson

Megan Anderson was the first student at the University of Otago to receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Sociology.

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Mei Mackay

"Without the enthusiasm and encouragement from the history department staff I might never have developed my passion for history and research."

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Mercy Ah Siu-Maliko

Mercy Ah Siu-Maliko says that her main purpose in coming to the University of Otago was that it “was able to offer postgraduate opportunities especially for women in areas that were mostly dominated by men”.

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Michael Stevens

Time takes on peculiar qualities for many PhD students, and for Michael Stevens perhaps more than most.

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Minishka Bradley

“If you are thinking about teaching my only advice is do it. It really is the most rewarding career."

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Molly Devine

"It really helped me to be independent– I can write a song, I can sing a song and I can record it."

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Monica Singh

“You have to be role models; to learn to balance what you have with what you’ve learned in order to provide support and advocacy to people and to families."

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Moragh Loose

"Anthropology introduced me to a whole way of thinking and understanding people that I hadn’t experienced before."

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Mutahar Al-Murtadha

“It just shows everything is possible – when I began my studies at Otago I never thought I could publish in a top journal but now it is looking possible.”

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Myunik Panthi

"I knew by undertaking research at an international level I could get experience that wouldn’t be available otherwise.”

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Nathaniel Christensen

Geography was Nat Christensen’s favourite subject at school, but he didn’t focus on it when he first started a BA at Otago.

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Nicole Chuah

PPE gives you the substantial depth in a cohesive breadth of disciplines that prepares you for jobs in a range of fields, such as politics, business and journalism.

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Nicole Chuah

“Otago appealed for its ideal mix of academic and social activities and Dunedin has all the right kinds of student town vibes.”

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Niki Lomax

I loved studying arts and it was an excellent foundation for the 'real world'. It helps you develop effective communication and analytical skills which are immensely useful in any workplace.

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Nita Sullivan

Nita works as a graduate advisor in the Mayor’s Office at the Christchurch City Council, a job that involves providing research, analysis and advice to support the Mayor in her leadership role within Christchurch City.

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Olivia Buckner

"I learnt in a team teaching environment, which made everything less daunting and meant that I started my teaching career with confidence."

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Paola Voci

"I'm interested in the type of dissent that these forms of visual culture can produce and how they can contribute to create a more open society."

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Pat Wheatley

Growing up in the Canterbury high country, Pat was a farm kid who read Homer.

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Patricia Windle

The combined programme has sent me down an interesting career path.

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Petra McCallum

Petra McCallum has pursued her fascination for other cultures and languages across continents - originally from Melbourne, she has lived in Ecuador, Spain and England.

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Philosophical paradoxes

A University of Otago philosopher is seeking to explain something that has puzzled philosophers since at least the fourth century.

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Rachael Lander

“Human geography was the degree that offered the broad combination of economic, political and social issues that I was looking for.”

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Rangimarie Mules

"At the University of Otago they didn't put barriers or obstacles in the way I thought. I really appreciated the way the people around me opened my mind to affect change in a positive way."

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Raquel Hill

"Language learners often feel self-conscious about baring their fledgling skills in front of their peers, but I was always made to feel relaxed and received plenty of encouragement."

Rebecca McMaster

Rebeeca McMaster, Art History graduate says "I have no doubt that the Otago experience set me up excellently for the Great Job Hunt".

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Rebecca Thomson

Following her passion to study Philosophy gave Rebecca Thomson an edge when it came to her career.

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Religious treasure rediscovered

Indiana Jones and the Da Vinci Code may be fictional, but academics really do have their moments in solving age-old mysteries in exotic locations.

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Renee Heal

"The study of politics has given me a truly international worldview: many of my travel choices have been inspired by the content of my degree and the passion inspired by my lecturers."

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Reuben Steff

"Studying Politics at Otago provided me with an insight into the diversity of the world that I would otherwise not have gained."

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Rosemary Gibson

Are Colin McCahon’s religious paintings akin to “graffiti on the walls of some celestial lavatory?” At Otago you can decide for yourself.

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Russell Blakelock

Russell Blakelock believes Otago’s Distance Learning programme offers him the flexibility he needs, as well as a sense of community that he also believes to be important.

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Sam Orchard

My communication studies degree has had a huge influence on my professional life.

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Sam Scott

Sam Scott says "I was surprised how easy it was to learn Chinese as I had previously written myself off as 'not being a languages person'"

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Sarah McKinnon

"...Otago has the lifestyle, its cheaper to live here and there's more financial support available than there is at home in Australia."

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Saving te reo Māori

Māori speakers in Dunedin and Otago face an uphill battle to keep their language skills alive so they can pass them on to new generations. But soon they could be getting help, following collaboration between local families, Ngāi Tahu and a multidisciplinary team from the University of Otago.

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Scott Ransom

Scott Ransom discovered there's a place for students with a love of writing and a penchant for the absurd. It's called Theatre Studies at Otago.

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Seti Afoa

I don’t have a degree so for me this is less of a career choice than a desire to achieve a personal goal.

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Shalini Kennedy

“Studying classics allowed me to think outside the box and gave me the confidence to do anything.”

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Shane Wohlers

'My job requires creative adaptability, the ability to come to creative solutions and exceptional communication'

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Sheldon Teare

Aspects of what I learnt studying Classics, such as ancient manufacturing methods and materials, are useful to my work as a Conservator as we have to understand how an object was made and from what before we can treat it.

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Sophie Gilmore

"Employers value what they call visual literacy, and you’ll definitely get that from art history (and visual culture).”

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Stacey Gullen-Reynolds

When Stacey Gullen-Reynolds left school at 15 having passed only one School Certificate subject, it was hard to imagine that one day she would be handing out education and career advice to others.

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Stevie TeHau-Fergusson

At Te Tumu – School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, “the staff are so passionate about what they do, they have lived and breathed what they are teaching and that makes it easier to connect with students.”

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Tawini White

Tawini White is studying regional language variations for her Master's degree.

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Te Hau White

“I gained a range of transferable skills during my time at university – the ability to read, analyse and interpret information in a meaningful way is really valuable in my day-to-day working life.”

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Tecwyn King

"Whether I was composing a four-part harmony or playing shredding guitar solos, the expertise of the teaching staff was the reason for my success as a musician."

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Telling technology

Dr David Ciccoricco, who has been researching what happens when narrative fiction meets digital technology, says that rather than threatening the existence of story-telling, digital technology is changing the way we are able to write and read narrative fiction.

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Teri Higgins

Teri Higgins' past year at Otago has been one big horror film - her major project was an honours dissertation on the "psychoanalytical failure of the remake of Psycho".

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Terri Caulcutt

“This programme allows social workers to undertake further studies with a distinctly social work emphasis”

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The value of te reo Māori

Based at Otago’s Te Tumu - School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, Associate Professor Poia Rewi (Tūhoe, Ngāti Manawa, Te Arawa) works on a regional and national level in multiple areas of Te Reo promotion, teaching and research, and his current projects highlight his unwavering focus.

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Tulua Sekone-Fraser

“I wanted to be a change-maker; helping young people find the right path to a better future."

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Tyson Tautari

“What I enjoyed most about studying through Te Tumu was the whānau feeling. The teaching support was incredible; they were approachable and welcoming, and all genuinely wanted to see their students succeed."

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Vickie Saunders

"The communication and analytical skills that I developed during my Linguistics studies, combined with an acquired learning aptitude and enthusiasm for learning new languages, are invaluable tools in my present role."

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Waiana Mulligan

“Policy is about identifying problems and coming up with solutions. The critical thinking skills gained in a Humanities degree allow you to think more laterally, to think outside the box. The writing and verbal communication skills you get are also very useful in a policy context."

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Will Harvey

Beyond the written and verbal skills a Classics degree endows you with, it makes you open-minded and able to interact freely, courteously and civilly with all types of different people.

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Will Sweetman

"I'm keen to explore how we, as Westerners, understand people from another culture."

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Willow McKay

I enjoyed history at school and university and became really interested in medical anthropology - the interaction between people and medicine.

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Zipporah Lagaluga

In her third year Zipporah tutored for Te Tumu - School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies. “I remember in my first year hiding in the corner, and now I was in front of the classroom myself. Te Tumu gave me a great opportunity for personal growth, I learned a lot and was able to give back too.”

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Zoe Linsell

"Theatre Studies taught me a variety of skills, and not just what you learn in lectures, but a positive attitude as well- to get out there and do it!"