Bachelor of Communication Studies (Public Relations, Spanish)
Waikato Management School
Briar Thompson was one of just three talented New Zealanders awarded a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University after completing her communications degree at Waikato Management School.
Briar's long-term goal is to work for the United Nations, and help shape New Zealand's policy on the migration, security and diplomacy issues facing the Pacific region as a result of climate change.
At Oxford she completed a one-year Master of Science in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, followed by a one-year Master of Public Policy.
Since then she has worked in Tonga as a consultant at the Ministry of Environment and Communications, before moving to the United States in October 2014 to take up a sought-after consulting role at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), based in New York.
The former Whangarei Girls’ High School Dux has Ngāpuhi affiliations.
“On my first day of secondary school the school’s kaumātua issued a challenge to the Māori students to change the statistics on poor Māori performance and make the most of the educational opportunities on offer," says Briar.
"I took his words to heart and endeavoured to meet that challenge. All the way through I’ve been blown away by the support I’ve had from family, friends and the University of Waikato.”
Ms Thompson also worked hard in the community to make a difference. She was on the Young People’s Reference Group for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, was a Māori mentor at Waikato University, and volunteered with Refugee Services to assist a Colombian family who had resettled in New Zealand.