Tyler Te Kiri

Tyler Te Kiri


Tyler graduated with a Master of Education, focusing on Māori voice in the Education Division.

Tyler Te Kiri

As the korowai handmade by her sister sat around her shoulders, Tyler Te Kiri (Tūhoe) stood tall and proud at her graduation encouraging her fellow graduates to create a positive change in the world.

Chosen as a student speaker for the ceremony at the University of Waikato’s Te Kohinga Mārama Marae, Tyler, 29, said “I hope we may all occupy spaces where we flourish, shake it up and create the positive change the world needs and our mokopuna need".

“You are the wildest dreams of your tīpuna,” she said to students, “you are creating a legacy for your whānau, demonstrating to the generations to come that anything is obtainable with a lot of late nights, blood, sweat and tears.”

As a mother of two, a child of five, and a mokopuna of many, Tyler says she’s a survivor of some of the most challenging years of her life - being a student.

Tyler is an advocate for Māori students and works for the University’s Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence, helping create spaces and experiences where rangatahi Māori thrive and opportunities are limitless.

“With histories and a lot of systems that often don’t work for them, it’s important we start creating spaces where rangatahi Māori can see how awesome they truly are.

“I believe my tertiary education has helped me understand the effects of intergenerational trauma, the impact one’s environment can have on who they are and the power of reflection.”

Graduating with a Master of Education, focusing on Māori voice in the Education Division, Tyler says she loves seeing other tauira (students) receive their tohu (degree), and seeing how proud their whānau are.

“I’ll be celebrating the best way I know how, eating and revelling in the festivities with my whānau and friends.

“Just knowing how challenging it was for me to finish my postgraduate makes this occasion that little bit sweeter. Studying and raising a whānau isn’t free… so make sure you have a good ‘why’ for your studies, because when times get tough or the temptation of quitting gets high, your ‘why’ will help shift things back into focus.

“Don’t be bound by a set timeline or set journey. However it happens for you is exactly how it’s meant to.”

Tyler was born and raised in Hamilton where she attended Hamilton Girls’ High School, but Waimana is called home.

It’s her third time graduating from the University. In 2017, Tyler received her Bachelor of Teaching and a Graduate Diploma in Māori and Pacific Development in 2019.

Raised in a family of teachers, Tyler says she didn’t want to be cliche and follow in the footsteps of her mum and sister, “yet ironically, they're two of the many role models I now look to”.

“I am grateful for the opportunities that I have had at Waikato, including the Te Āhurutanga, a Māori Leadership Programme. If I hadn’t gone through this programme I definitely would not have been privy to the opportunities I’ve been fortunate to land.”

Tyler also had the opportunity to travel alongside a small contingent of tauira Māori to Arizona and British Columbia where they connected with other indigenous communities.

Her gratitude goes to her supervisor Donella Cobb, mentor Whaea Shirley Tuteao and whaea Linda Smith’s paper on decolonising theories.

“These two are the type of mentors that go above and beyond for their tauira.

“E kore e mimiti aku mihi ki a rāua.”


Tyler Te Kiri

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