PARENGAMIHI GARDINER (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngaiterangi and Ngāti Pukenga)
Masters of Indigenous Studies
Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi
A committed kaimahi of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and a firm believer in the importance of education, Parengamihi (Mihi) Gardiner is the latest recipient of the $4,000 Te Pouhere Scholarship from the Aotearoa Scholarship Trust. Mihi is currently studying towards her Masters of Indigenous Studies with Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.
Mihi was born and raised in Tauranga and has two young daughters. She is fluent in te reo Māori and plays an active role in her whānau, hapū, iwi and community. Mihi recently became the secretary for her marae committee and is vice chairperson of her local kura kaupapa Māori. She is also a member of the Tauranga Tangata Festival Committee.
Mihi has been with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa for ten years, both as a staff member and a student. She has completed the Kaihoe Waka programme, Te Pīnakitanga, Certificate in Computing, Mauri Ora and Papa Whairawa.
Her work life at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, too, has been varied. For the first half of her employment with the organisation, Mihi worked as a kaiako of te reo. But for the past five years, she has worked in student support. Mihi says her studies have contributed significantly to her professional and personal development and have forged the path she is now travelling.
This year, Mihi has taken a year’s study leave so she can focus all her efforts on her master’s degree. Mihi says “I chose Indigenous Studies at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi because I like the way the programmes are set out and it works in with my whānau commitments. The papers on offer appeal to me and they’re taught by very knowledgeable people. This scholarship will assist me and my whānau financially, as we no longer have my income to support us with everyday needs and expenses. It will help me achieve success in my studies in 2011, which will ultimately benefit my work as a kaiako at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.”