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Son going to university led EIT lecturer on journey of academic excellence

October 27, 2022

Pat Dewes will graduate from EIT’s Te Whatakura with a Bachelor of Arts (Māori) (Honours) tomorrow (Friday).

Pat Dewes (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Horowai) realised he needed a change in career when his son went to university, so he left his job at Work and Income to enrol in EIT’s Bachelor of Arts (Māori).

It was the start of a long journey with EIT which has seen him become a kaiwhakaako (lecturer) at EIT’s Te Whatukura in Tairāwhiti in the certificate programme and now complete his honours degree. Pat will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (Māori) (Honours) at the EIT Tairāwhiti graduation ceremony to be held tomorrow (Friday, 28th October 2022) at the War Memorial Theatre in Gisborne.

Reflecting on his decision to leave Work and Income, Pat says he realised that he was not achieving what he could there and wanted more for his life.

“My son, Monsul, going to university made me free to focus on myself. It was my epiphany. I decided I’d do something selfish and learn my language.”

“I suppose the awakening for me was you’re in the position where you’re looking to your left and your right for te reo speakers, and there wasn’t anyone, then that falls on you, and that’s not a very pleasant situation to be in. So I decided I would do something about it.”

Pat, 58, says he is a second language learner but is enjoying seeing the students he teaches reach their goals.

“I get a real buzz from seeing students that I’ve played a part in succeed. I find it really rewarding.”

“We pride ourselves on the whānau atmosphere here in Te Whatukura. It is a friendly, safe learning environment that we have created.”

Pat Dewes is a kaiwhakaako (lecturer) at EIT’s Te Whatukura in Tairāwhiti.

He has really enjoyed the honours’ programme but did find it quite difficult working and studying at the same time.

“It was quite a juggling act. You have to be disciplined, but we’ve got very good tutors here and a great cohort to be involved with, so you weren’t doing it on your own.”

Pat says that while he is pleased he is graduating again, he has mixed feelings about the actual ceremony.

“I don’t really like being the centre of attention, but it is a good reason to celebrate. My whānau have always been supportive. Most of them are in Australia, so they will be here in wairua (spirit).”

Pat’s whakataukī for his learning is: “E kore te tangata e pakari ana i runga i te moana marino”, which means “A persons seamanship does not strengthen on a calm ocean.”

As for studying further for a master’s, Pat says he has no plans at this stage as he is involved in Te Pae Kāruhiruhi Men’s group.

“We are a group that celebrates being Māori.”

Angela Tibble, the Programme Coordinator at Te Whatukura, and her team say: “We are very proud of Pat’s academic and professional achievements over the years and this year his agreeance to take on a leadership role as one of two Programme Coordinators for a number of Te Whatukura and Hawke’s Bay based classes. Pat is a great role model and an asset to EIT exemplifying what commitment and hard work can achieve.”