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Student Profiles

Sian Tata-Connal
Iwi:
Ngaiterangi, Ngāti Ranginui

Bachelor of Humanities

Background Summary:

I’m a hairdresser by trade and I’ve managed salons in the past, but my interest going forward is indigenous business. My husband and I would like to set up an indigenous business in the tourism field in Rarotonga.

We are both enrolled in the same double major in Humanities – Indigenous studies and Indigenous business. It makes the journey easier. It’s having that other person to bounce ideas off all the time, being able to share resources, as well as an extra set of ears if I’m busy with our pēpi. If I find something of interest on the Internet, I tag it for him. We’re also always pushing each other to keep on-track and better our work. My sister and aunt are also studying Indigenous studies and Indigenous policy, which gives us a great little study group.

I wouldn’t be studying at tertiary level if it wasn’t for Awanuiārangi. The Wānanga understands the needs of all its students, and the needs of parents who have family obligations. Our 10-month old baby is always welcome to our noho. The way the course is delivered through monthly noho wānanga and tutorials makes tertiary education do-able for our whānau. Being able to work online, email, ring and talk to our professor when help is needed or for a friendly catch up. It allows us to plan our studies around our everyday lives – my husband works daily and our children are at school every day, add in our sports and church commitments, and you get a very busy household.

Photo: The Connal whānau