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When Chelsea Edmonds was taking the STAR Māori Art Drawing Techniques programme while she was attending He Matariki Teen Parent School in 2012, she thought she was "just doing art" for her son.

What she didn't count on was that initial programme leading to an ongoing five-year relationship with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Whangārei that's so far included four programmes with more on the way.

But it hasn't been a smooth road for Chelsea.

As part of the Drawing Techniques programme, tauira were learning about kōwhaiwhai and Chelsea lept at the opportunity.

"I've always been passionate about my culture as well as my art," she says.

"When I was told we were doing kōwhaiwhai panels, I just had to do one for my first born son, Tahjei," she says.

"A few months later he passed away."

The following year, at the end of 2013, Chelsea gave birth to her second son Raniera, and successfully completed Year 13.

Then, in 2015 she enrolled into the Level 4 Certificate in Health and Fitness. It seems obvious, but Chelsea says she's always up for a challenge.

The Ngāpuhi 20-year-old says her Te Wānanga o Aotearoa kaiako Brian Mitchell kept her inspired during the tough times by providing a stress-free learning environment.

"Matua Brian treated us like whānau and the way he embraces our culture, I loved it some much I did the second course a few weeks later," she says.

"My whole life I've enjoyed learning new things and playing a wide variety of sport. I'd do as much of this as I possibly could because it's what I loved to do."

However, after working in the sports and fitness field, she discovered another passion for going into business for herself.

"I now want to be my own boss and help people in more ways than just keeping them fit," she says.

"I want to be a young entrepreneur."

To achieve this new goal, Chelsea enrolled on the Certificate in Money Management programme and says it's turned out better than she hoped.

"It's awesome, fast-paced and we were constantly learning. I'm really glad I had to do CMM and I'll be able to utilise those skills when it comes to building my own business."

After completing that 18-week programme, her brother suggested Chelsea enrol in the Level 3 Smart Steps for Business course. So she did.

"Smart Steps to Business has already answered questions I'd had before coming into it and I can't wait to see where it takes me. My biggest passion is children and I believe in giving our tamariki the best start in life that you possibly can while also taking great care of yourself," she says.

"I have no regrets about any of these courses and I'm more than certain I'll be doing more."

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Published On: 11 Oct, 2017

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