About 100 Māori and Pasifika students were given recognition and support at an event at Te Ara o Tāwhaki Marae on the Hawke’s Bay campus recently.
The scholarship engagement event (Kua Takoto te Mānuka) was part of Te Ara o Tākitimu – a student support initiative designed to assist 16-40 year olds with their aspirations in a wide range of trades and identified vocational areas. Te Ara o Tākitimu participants get free study, pastoral and cultural support, and finance to overcome barriers like transport costs. They are also assisted in the search for work experience, jobs and apprenticeships through EIT’s dedicated Work Brokers.
Te Ara o Tākitimu Coordinator Rhys Thurston says Māori and Pasifika learners are empowered so that they are confident to engage with their studies. The initiative supports learners to navigate their learning journey in a cultural way that also connects them to industry.
The “unique” day begans with a pōwhiri, before workshops focused on whakawhanaungatanga, goal setting, and overcoming barriers among other things.
“It is an opportunity for learners to meet each other, to know that they’re all in this together, and that we’re here to help them along the way. The hui is just a way we can have those conversations that focus on supporting learners to achieve their goals.”
Due to COVID-19, the last time they were able to hold the event was at the start of last year.
As a previous graduate of Te Ara o Tākitimu, Jessica Papara (Ngāti Hauā) spoke about her journey into study, and how the initiative has helped her.
“To be able to return as a student voice is an honour to me. I am able to inspire students with their education journey, and also give back to the kaupapa that has provided the platform for my goals to be met and the support and encouragement to continue on my pathway to become a Registered Nurse.”
“At my first engagement event, I remember being very nervous and scared. Mostly because I wanted better for my future, but I knew it was a long road and there were a lot of challenges I would have to overcome. However, being a part of the EIT and the Te Ara o Tākitimu whānau, I regained strength, sought support from the services provided for students and started to tackle every obstacle step by step. It was tough, but then the change started happening”.
The 35-year-old mum of eight hadn’t studied since high school when she enrolled in the NZ Certificate in Study and Career Preparation [Level 3] in semester one last year. By the end of the year, she had not only graduated in the level 3 programme, but the level 4 certificate too.
As a result, she was able to get employment as a healthcare assistant in the maternity unit at Hawke’s Bay Hospital. She is now studying towards a Bachelor of Nursing – something she has always wanted to do but never had the ability to.
“Completing Study and Career Preparation foundation programmes levels 3 and 4 gave me the incentive I needed to become a Registered Nurse and live out my purpose, while providing a positive lifestyle for my children free from dysfunction.”
“I am living proof that any goal can be reached, and you can make your dreams come true. Trust the process and do not give up or let any person tell you that you can’t. Cause you can.”
Rangitane Tawhi (Ngāti Kahungunu) says seeing the support on offer and hearing other students’ stories of success has made him more determined to reach his goals.
At 17-years-old, he has enrolled in the NZ Certificate in Building, Construction and Allied Trades Skills [Level 3] with G&H Training, which he hopes will open the door to an apprenticeship.
“It was good to meet new people,” he says. “The support here and stuff made me realise that I can keep on track and go through the whole programme and get to my goals.”
The event was an opportunity to introduce the Te Ara o Tākitimu purpose and outline the supports available to learners. Further initiatives are being planned to maintain interactions with learners and their whānau / aiga to ensure they are supported to achieve their study and work goals.