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Student Profiles

Tutonga Waaka
Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Awa

Te Awa Tūāpapa

Background Summary:

I enrolled in Te Awa Tūāpapa to prepare for the Bachelor of Education. I was too shy to start the teaching course, so I decided to take the opportunity to sharpen up my reo and develop other skills. Mum enrolled in the same class so we went through together.

This programme brought me out of my shell. I wasn’t the only one who was afraid of standing up in public, but we were made to do it. It was like our kaiako saw something in us that we didn’t know we had. They told me if I didn’t speak up nobody would know who I was or what I wanted. Their encouragement brought me out of my comfort zone and got me to strive for things that I never thought I could actually achieve. I told them what I wanted, and they guided me to where I wanted to be. This class gave me the confidence to stand on Ngāti Awa and Tūhoe stages for kapa haka. This year I performed in the Tūhoe Ahurei for Te Waimana Kaaku, with my Dad.

I’m now in my first year of the Bachelor of Education. I learnt in Te Awa Tūāpapa that if you want to achieve something you have to have the right mindset, you have to take it seriously. The only person holding yourself back is yourself. Put your head down and do the mahi.