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Student Profiles

Laurissa Cooney
Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpārangi

Te Awa Tūāpapa

Background Summary:

I wanted to take the time to sharpen up on my reo, so I could use it more in my workplace. Strengthening my understanding of tikanga was also a key driver.

I did some reo papers at university, but hadn’t practised for a long time so this programme was a step up for me. I had to work a bit harder than some of my peers, but thanks to the teaching style I didn’t feel like I was being left behind. The kaiako had a really nurturing way that allows you to feel comfortable and safe in that environment. I never thought I’d lead a group in a pōwhiri for a waiata but the kaiako brought it out of me. She has natural way of giving you the confidence to do that.

We learnt a lot of waiata tawhito, a side benefit for me, as well as karakia, mihi and how to give whakapapa and pepeha. We focused on these elements so that when I needed to deliver these outside of the classroom situation, it came out naturally, it just flowed. The confidence is there in that space – that’s a definite change for me. The course has given me strong foundations to take the next step.

(Laurissa is Chief Financial Officer for Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.)