Morrinsville local transitions to university with Te Ara ki Angitū Programme

The University of Waikato’s Te Ara ki Angitū Programme allowed for a smooth transition for Morrinsville local Stewart Totton.

Originally from Northern Ireland, Stewart Totton is now proud to call Morrinsville his home of 10 years, although he’s still a loyal Irish rugby supporter. Thanks to the University of Waikato’s Te Ara ki Angitū: Pathways to Excellence Programme, the Bachelor of Management Studies student is excited to be the first in his family to attend university.

The University’s Te Ara ki Angitū Programme is designed to make university education accessible for students in regional Waikato by providing support and mentoring, a subsidised daily bus service to and from selected towns, and access to a portable learning device. The programme has alleviated Stewart’s living costs by allowing him to live at his family home while studying. Each day, Stewart catches the bus service provided for Te Ara ki Angitū students between Morrinsville and the University of Waikato’s Hamilton campus, costing him less than $20 a fortnight.

“The bus is great. It’s really flexible – it is there when I need it and runs at convenient times which means I can get to my lectures on time. Being able to travel to the University without the worry of buying a car takes so much stress away,” says Stewart.

Stewart says the support he’s received as a Te Ara ki Angitū student has helped him transition from school to university. As a participant in the programme he has access to the whānau room, a space dedicated to students who travel the extra mile to study at the University of Waikato.

“The whānau room is a really good social spot and there are always familiar faces around. When I go there to study, usually an older student will see the work I’m doing and help me out with it. I would 100% recommend students from Morrinsville consider applying for the programme – it makes a massive difference.”

Stewart attended Morrinsville College, where he found his passion for numbers, particularly enjoying accounting and economics. He always knew he wanted to study business, but he considered a few different options before choosing the University of Waikato.

“It was the reputation of the Waikato Management School that attracted me. I knew it had Triple Crown status and I wanted to make sure I was getting the best quality education I could,” he says. “When I heard about Waikato’s Te Ara ki Angitū Programme, I knew it was the perfect choice for me.”

Stewart is majoring in accounting and finance at the University’s Waikato Management School, which is ranked among the world’s leading business schools with its Triple Crown status, an international acknowledgement of excellence in business education. He hopes to become a chartered accountant, having already gained some experience working at Diprose Miller, an accounting firm in Morrinsville.

The University of Waikato’s Te Ara ki Angitū: Pathways to Excellence Programme was established in 2016 in South Waikato and expanded to other regions in 2017. The Programme now reaches 25 schools and communities across Hauraki, Thames-Coromandel, Matamata-Piako, Waikato, Otorohonga, South Waikato and Waitomo districts.