Inspired by Those Around Her

November 7, 2013

Ana MarieAna Marie Poninghouse is on a mission to make a difference in the world.

The 19-year-old Bachelor in Social Sciences student always knew she wanted to help people, but initially thought she would do that through early child care. However, a stint in an early child care centre made her realise she needed a far broader horizon.

Ana Marie has been inspired by her parents who have worked with troubled youth and people who need assistance for as long as she can remember. The family, strong members of the City Faith Centre Gisborne, continue to help others.

“It made me very passionate about doing that too,” she says.

She and fiance Ahi Te Hau-Otene spend a lot of time with his younger brother who has Down’s syndrome, and Ahi’s mother Aroha Te Hau is also a social worker . . . those too have played a part in helping Ana Marie choose her career path.

And she says that receiving a Year 13 Scholarship, that sees her first year of study fee-free, drives her even harder.

“It makes me work harder because I think ‘I am getting this for free so have to give 100%’,” she says. “It has made a huge difference, and has allowed us to buy our own home recently – that would never have happened without such support.”

It also encouraged her to stay in Gisborne to complete her studies.

“Having that one-on-one teaching is the best way to go, and I am really enjoying my studies.”

While she is just her first year of a three year degree, Ana Marie is already thinking long term.

“I want to get an awesome career behind me in social work and get out there and make a difference in our community.”

And she’s even contemplating completing a masters at some time in the future.