Fluent in Japanese and Te Reo Māori, 27-year-old Masters graduate and secondary school teacher William Flavell continues to seize opportunities.
Flavell, who credits Waikato University for contributing to his career, has recently attended the United States-New Zealand Pacific Partnership Forum in Washington DC, along with government ministers and business leaders. “It was a great honour to be chosen – 140 people applied, so it was a bit of a shock really,” says Flavell.
He was one of 10 young New Zealand leaders chosen to discuss and debate important issues between the two countries. A personal aim for Flavell was the chance to converse about educational opportunities for Māori and see what the American education system offers their indigenous people. Helping young people achieve, especially Māori, is the main reason Flavell is a teacher. “I became a secondary school teacher because I am passionate about shaping the hearts, minds and experiences of our young people,” says Flavell.
With a passion for language learning, Flavell studied Japanese for five years before completing a BA/BTchg conjoint and a Graduate Diploma in Education (Māori Education) at the University of Waikato. He also completed a Masters of Education with honours, which examined the success of a Māori immersion school, where students leave fluent in three languages.
Over the last six years, Flavell has taught Japanese, Te Reo Māori and social studies and is currently the Head of Māori Studies at Rutherford College in Auckland.
Flavell says his time at the University of Waikato equipped him with the necessary skills for the classroom. “I am thankful for the amazing help from lecturers and support staff. I had an incredible seven years of study,” says Flavell.
In the near future, Flavell is keen to complete a doctorate degree; and his career ambition is to be the principal of a secondary school in his hometown of Whangarei. "It is now more important than ever that we focus on education as the number one priority for Māori. By 2020, Māori will make up a fifth of the total workforce. Therefore it is imperative we have access to young, well-educated Māori, who are willing to give back and contribute to the wealth of their whānau, marae, hapū and iwi in order to create successful ventures for their people,” says Flavell.