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Inherited a love of helping others

January 23, 2014
Sharai Takao, Graduate, Bachelor of Applied Social Science

Sharai Takao, Graduate, Bachelor of Applied Social Science

Newly-graduated social worker Sharai Takao is on a mission to help others.

It took three years for Sharai to complete her Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences. Her final placement at Impact Tauranga, an alternative
education provider in the Bay of Plenty, has now led her to where she figures she is needed most.

She’s working with 13-16-year-olds who have been removed from mainstream schools.

“Alternative education providers teach these kids in another way,” says Sharai, “in a more hands on and practical manner, with small class numbers.”

The 30-year-old says it was immediately clear to her that this was an area that needed attention… and lots of it.

Sharai had spent a decade working in the office at Alan Berry Motors.

“I was just happy to cruise along and make enough money to pay the bills.”

But one day, something switched and she sought out a career in helping others.

Her time at EIT Tairäwhiti was motivating and enjoyable.

“It was a good place to learn – it got me moving, interested in other things and it provided me with opportunities,” she says.

“We had such great support from staff – it’s quite different to learning at other tertiary institutions, there’s a real bond.”

Initially, Sharai wanted to do a double degree in counselling and psychotherapy but couldn’t do that from her Gisborne base.

“So I moved into social work to learn more about myself. I already knew how to work with people but needed to learn how to look after myself in those situations.”

She figures her people skills are inherited.

“My Dad has a certain way with kids… even if they are mischievous. He never had any specific roles in kids’ lives, but many kids loved him. My parents brought us up in a Christian church and Dad accepted everyone for who they were. His Mum is the same too and my own Mum
is a really strong person as well.”

Sharai plans to stay in Tauranga and hopes to complete a post graduate diploma in teaching in the future.