Te Mana Ao Tūroa graduate Taroi Rawiri says the Bachelor of Māori Advancement degree he studied at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has broadened his horizons.
The 3-year environmental degree also widened the environmental manager’s job prospects.
“I started as a fisheries officer and now I’m managing an environmental unit for Waahi Whaanui Trust,” Taroi says. “So it aligned really well with what I’m doing now working with a local marae and looking after the environment.”
The key learning from the programme taught by kaiako John Paenga at Mangakōtukutuku in Hamilton included how to engage with local government, rangahau and delving deeper into kaupapa Māori.
Taroi said Te Wānanga o Aotearoa also provided far more support than than he had ever experienced before at university.
“It’s a real whānau atmosphere, we’re all quite close and all the way through we have been supported by having someone to talk to when you needed someone.”
Fellow graduate Fred Haimona said Te Mana Ao Tūroa reawakened his thinking about his role as kaitiaki of the land.
“Te Taiao aligns us back with our tipuna and how the environment was for them. They were part of the environment and we have to remember today that we are part of the environment too. If the environment is unhealthy we are unhealthy if our ngahere is māuiui we are māuiui.”
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