Qualifications: BA(Hons) (First Class)
I first came to study at FMIS in response to a desire to formalise some of the experiences and teachings I had been exposed too within te ao Māori over a timespan of 25 years or so. Little did I realise how all consuming academic life would become.
Indeed, it surprised me that (after leaving high school at 15 and leading a rather unconventional life) my brain was capable of reaching such heights. It just goes to show that with the right balance of passion, committment, hard work and supportive teachers, most things can be achieved.
Not that it has been plain sailing by any stretch of the imagination. Moving from my slice of heaven in the bush and leaving my ususal support systems and routines behind has, at times, left a huge gap that even the joys of academic discovery was hard pressed to fill. Not to meniton the associated stresses of living on the edge of the breadline! I am extremely grateful for the continued encouragement, on many levels, that both fellow students and staff have extended towards me thereby, ensuring the continuation of my studies.
Although it is not so usual for some one of Pākehā descent to choose to study within SMPD, for me it was the right place to be in order to gain a deeper understanding of te ao Māori. In turn this learning has led me to delve more into defining what it means to identify as Pākehā in our current time frame. Currently I am working on my Master’s Thesis and at this stage I am looking to undertake a PhD next year.
In terms of my future career, I have a desire to be of use in building an understanding (particularly with New Zealanders of Pākehā descent) of the unique opportunity we have in Aotearoa to appreciate the knowledge and wisdoms of Māori. My belief is that we can then redefine ourselves to create a more equitable environment in which all people may thrive.