She’s a singer in reggae band NRG Rising and a mother to two children who manages a busy household.
But if you had asked Anahera-Pono Taylor if you could add post-graduate tauira to that list she may have given you a strange look.
The 24-year-old has just started a Postgraduate Diploma in Education at The University of Waikato.
She is among Te Wānanga o Aotearoa tauira who have transitioned through programmes the organisation offers to higher levels of study at other tertiary institutions.
But Anahera-Pono says she never seriously considered postgraduate study until her mum, TwoA staff member Benita Tahuri, encouraged her to do so.
“One of the main reasons I thought about trying this was my mum, She has been a teacher her whole life.
She said ‘why not try this one-year programme in primary teaching?’.”
“I thought ‘why not?’ but it was something I didn’t consider until after I graduated. It was a different step I could take but thanks to the degree with the wānanga I could get in and I am in.”
Anahera-Pono initially completed the level 5 Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Diploma in Adult Education in 2012.
She then undertook He Korowai Ākonga – the three year degree programme for current or aspiring adult educators seeking a formal teaching qualification.
She says her progression to post graduate study “would not have been possible” without the tohu she gained through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
“Without it there really wasn’t anything I could do to get in other than study for another three years in a degree programme and come back to apply in 2019,” she said.
“I acknowledged this through my interview process with The University of Waikato…they did ask where I had completed my study so it was a perfect time to bring it up.”
“My learning at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa was more learning I could take as life lessons as well. It was stuff I could take in my pedagogy of teaching and there were things I could use 20 years later.”
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa National Programme Manager Janna O’Malley said the acceptance of Anahera-Pono in to the postgraduate programme at The University of Waikato was an acknowledgement of the course and the graduates it offers.
“The acceptance of Anahera into a mainstream tertiary institution validates that a culturally-framed degree founded on principals from Te Ao Māori recognises the wisdom and practice of our tupuna,” she said.
“He Korowai Ākonga Bachelor of Education: (Adult Education) is a principled-based degree designed to develop professionals who have a desire to learn within a Māori cultural environment and who are prepared, passionate and dedicated to meet the challenges of 21st century teaching, learning and working environments.”
Janna said there were other pathways for TWoA tauira to transition in to postgraduate education in the organisation including He Waka Hiringa (Masters degree in Applied Indigenous Knowledge) and the Graduate Diploma in Professional Supervision.
Externally, there are several options for TWoA He Korowai Akonga tauira at other institutions including AUT, Unitec, The University of Auckland, The University of Waikato and Massey University among others.
As for Anahera-Pono?
Her sights are set on working in either a bilingual or full-immersion kura.
“There are great teachers there already and I also want to contribute to that movement.”
“It’s something I’ve been passionate about, mum has been a part of Māori education since I was born into our home-based Te Kohanga Reo in Wairoa, so I would like to help strengthen and build on the work done by the many before me in bilingual units in mainstream kura.”