Anaru 1200x800

Anaru Palmer

Ngāi Te Rangi , Ngāti Ranginui

The acquisition of Te Reo Māori has enabled me to better connect with relatives who speak the reo.


University of Waikato Te Ara Whānui
Tauranga Campus First-in-Family Scholarship
Tauranga Campus Returning Student Scholarship

Anaru 1200x800

Why did you choose to study at Waikato?

Initially, I was considering studying a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws at the Hamilton campus but when I found out that Te Tohu Paetahi was being taught in Tauranga in 2019, it was a game-changer.

I felt that it was important to continue the journey to learn Te Reo Māori while I am still young. I saw great benefit and value in seeking out and taking on the opportunity to learn and retain it as a means to further invest in Māoritanga, Māori culture, and what it means to be Māori. I believe that being a confident speaker of the reo will strengthen and guide me on my journey through life heading forward into the future.

What was your level of Te Reo Māori prior to Te Tohu Paetahi?

Before starting Te Tohu Paetahi, my level of Te Reo Māori was reasonably basic. I started learning in 2016 while in the Aronui bilingual unit at Tauranga Boys’ College. On reflection, my intention to learn was primarily for NCEA credits and felt I had not grasped Te Reo Māori. I was quick to change my mindset and, instead, focus on learning the language to use in life.

What's been a highlight for you?

I would strongly argue that, although the purpose of Te Tohu Paetahi is to immerse oneself in Te Reo Māori, the best part of the journey is seeing it through with the people who are as passionate about following the language as yourself. I say this because it is a team effort in both learning and retaining Te Reo Māori. I am beyond grateful for the connections I have made while being part of Te Tohu Paetahi.

Have there been any challenges?

The most difficult part of Te Tohu Paetahi was balancing commitments and involvements outside of the programme. Due to the intensity of the programme, where you learn so much from immersing yourself in its environment that, at times, missing a day has the potential to affect your ability to keep up. However, I also believe this is a great chance to both test and develop your self-management and self-organisation skills, where your independence can grow.

What have you gained from Te Tohu Paetahi?

The acquisition of Te Reo Māori has enabled me to better connect with relatives who speak the reo. It has allowed me to, not only create new connections and establish new relationships with other individuals through the reo, but to better understand Māori culture and Māoritanga as a whole. I feel that having it as a means to communicate different thoughts and ideas with others, or see things from a different perspective, are major advantages for me as a result of learning Te Reo Māori.

I find it crazy how learning a language can change the way you perceive life and the world. I feel that learning Te Reo Māori through Te Tohu Paetahi has not only changed my life - it's set me up for what is yet to come. It's hard to put into words the gratitude I have for the journey.

What goals are you working towards now?

I’m studying toward a Bachelor of Social Sciences with majors in Māori and Indigenous Studies and Political Science and a minor in Māori Language/Te Reo Māori. I'm interested in politics and international relations so may pursue something in that area as a future career.

This year, I returned to Tauranga Boys' College to work as a teacher's aide/kaiāwhina with Aronui, where I used to study. It's a privilege to be back there supporting the boys through their journey. I am fortunate to be able to work the role around my studies.

I believe my experience in TTP has allowed me to take more pride in being Māori, and thus I seek to use this to my advantage, as I continue to pursue kaupapa Māori based events and opportunities. I aim to involve myself in more community projects around Tauranga Moana, and also aim to invest more time in hobbies such as music and sports, as well as use what I have gained from Te Tohu Paetahi to benefit my family and friends around me.

What’s your #1 tip for making the most of uni life?

Look after yourself, know that it is okay to ask for help, and enjoy the opportunities that come your way. Simple as these things. Kia kaha, kaua e mate wheke. Me mate ururoa. Okea ururoatia.

Anaru 1200x800

Related stories

All stories
All stories