BA(Hons) Māori Studies and Anthropology
I was brought up in the Far North, on the shores of the Hokianga Harbour. I came to Otago to Explore my Ngāi Tahu links, my heritage; and followed my passions by taking Māori Studies.
I whakapapa back to Aoraki and Taranaki mountains, along with holding a strong line of Pākehā ancestries. I spent the majority of my upbringing in a variety of rural settings and the transition to an urban lifestyle was a valuable life experience.
Coming to the University of Otago expanded my mind. I became more aware of diversity of expression; that identity is a dynamic thing and dependent on influences, experiences and environments in which one lives.
Studying at the university, as well as living and contributing to my community, helped to ground me and gave me perspective. This was a process of seeing where I stand and where I can go, as well as understanding and respecting how other people live their lives.
The teaching and support that I received was brilliant. It's a real family atmosphere and we were encouraged to be who we are. Te Tumu (the School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies) and the Māori Centre were the biggest support networks I had outside my community.
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.
My degree unlocked many doors after four years of study. I went on to the role of Policy Analyst at Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry for Māori Development. It taught me to take yet another perspective on life, adding to the skill sets that were nurtured by Te Tumu and the wider university.