Kiriwaitingi Rei

Kiriwaitingi Rei

Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Toarangatira, Ngāpuhi

Kiriwaitingi hopes to ignite a spark within rangatahi Māori to further their education at tertiary institutes.

Business Analyst at Glenn Hawkins & Associates (GHA)

Rotorua, Bay of Plenty

Kiriwaitingi Rei

Kiriwaitingi Rei says her family were instrumental in guiding her to pursue a Bachelor of Business degree at the University of Waikato, majoring in Strategic Management and Māori Language/Te Reo Māori.

"They saw that Waikato was the best university in the country for students who wanted to further their studies in tikanga Māori-based subjects, and they also have a fantastic management school," says Kiriwaitingi, who grew up in Rotorua.

"What I love about studying here is the diversity of people and cultures. It’s amazing to see so many people from all walks of life trying to further their education. I also love how Waikato continues to embrace kaupapa Māori and celebrate the Kīngitanga."

Kiriwaitingi was fortunate to be a recipient of the Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao Scholarship. "It's helped immensely with paying for my halls fees," she says.

Going from kohanga reo right through to kura kaupapa for 13 years, and raised in a total immersion environment, it was always a given that te reo Māori would become one of her greatest passions in life.

"My favourite subject is te reo Māori because it allows me to retain my knowledge of te reo and further it by understanding the technicality of it in terms of learning the language in a university environment."

For Kiriwaitingi, a typical day at uni involves waking up at Bryant Hall 30 minutes before her lecture or tutorial starts, quickly getting ready and shooting out the door to class. "If I have assignments due, a few friends and I will hit the library for a few hours. In the evening, we’ll go to UniRec for an hour or so to do a bit of training or play some netball."

"My mindset and the way that I think has matured during my time here at uni," she says. "I’ve learnt to be a lot more independent and not rely on my parents as much. You only have yourself to rely on to get your work done because there are deadlines to be met – there will be consequences to your grades if they aren’t met."

"My tips for other students would be to network with as many people as you can and enjoy your time at uni. My parents always told me that uni is the last step before fully moving into adulthood and to just enjoy it and have fun."

"I hope that through my studies I will be able to share what I’ve learnt with our Māori people and, most importantly, our rangatahi Māori. I hope to ignite a spark within them to further their education at tertiary institutes while ensuring they still hold strong to their te reo Māori and to their ao Māori – the base that grounds us as a race and, at the end of the day, is who we are.

Kiriwaitingi Rei

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