Skye Kimura’s not letting anything stop her from completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health.
Skye, the New Zealand Cancer Society’s National Tobacco Control Advisor, grew up in Marton and was head girl at her school, Rangitikei College.
“I always knew I wanted to work in advocacy or something in the area of creating change and I started working in public health early on.”
The birth of her daughter Justice and employment took the place of planned university study and Skye succeeded in a succession of public health jobs in the areas of sexuality and tobacco control before she landed her present position.
“I did an undergraduate health diploma, but that call to study at university and do more was ever present – I knew something was missing. Plus, my mentors were pushing me, telling me I could do it. That was a big factor.”
So, she negotiated tertiary study as part of her job and was accepted into the Public Health programme at Otago’s Wellington campus, where she will study part-time to complete four papers over two years.
Almost half way through, Skye says it was the best decision she’s ever made.
“The sense of achievement is amazing. When I first decided to do the papers I didn’t have the faith in myself that I should have. I constantly kept putting study off because of time and other commitments. Now, I’d be silly not to think of doing my Master’s.”
“I’ve been able to learn different techniques that are contributing to my work, but I feel like it’s been a reciprocal process too, that I’ve been welcomed as someone with something to offer to my fellow students.”
The reputation of the University of Otago and the convenience of having a local campus in Wellington have been factors in Skye’s choices, but also “the calibre of the lecturers”.
“They are amazing, and inspiring, but so humble about all their achievements.”
Skye (of Ngāti Raukawa, Taranaki and Tūwharetoa descent) says the study and the workload have been challenging with her job, whānau commitments and iwi responsibilities, but she decided “this is so important to me, I will make it happen”.