Skip Content
Paula Nuku

Paula Nuku quit her 20-year job in the Seafood industry as a compliance officer on a Wednesday. 

"It was time to upskill myself," says the born and raised Māngere resident.

She walked into the Māngere Town Centre Library, looked around for courses and talked to the librarian, who is now a Te Wānanga o Aotearoa tauira herself.

The librarian sent Paula to Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, where she signed up for the Level 2 Computing course.

In two years Paula completed the National Certificate in Computing Levels 2, 3 and 4 as well as a National Certificate in Business Administration and Computing.

"My main motivation was to get my computer tutor's job, but the only let down was that I didn't have a degree." she says.

With her new qualifications under her belt, she was eligible to enroll into the First Year of Bachelor of Teaching (Primary), formerly known as Te Korowai. So that's exactly what she did.

With the passing of her dad a month before beginning this educational journey, and being a solo mum - these were her main motivators for completing the degree.

"Doing the study kept me busy. I was working nightshifts at my job. My sleeping pattern consisted of about four hours a day but that was my choice because I wanted to pay off my student loan. I didn't want to be a statistic."

Paula says the learning environment was whanau orientated, supportive and inclusive. To this day the graduates still keep in contact with one another.

She also found the training, whether bilingual or full immersion, to be adaptable and of a very high standard.

"We had the best of the best tutors, but it's in the practicums where you see you can make a difference to the kids; where you see how receptive they are when you show them that learning is fun."

Paula can recall three teachers who made an impact on her schooling.
The first was Greg Roebuck, now Principal of New Lynn Primary School.

"He made you think outside the box and that definitely left an impression."

Second was Margaret Shortt, now a Dean at Aorere College who saw potential in Paula at such a young age, even suggested Paula go to boarding school for the high quality education, however Paula decided to stay local to be with her family and lastly David Hodge, Principal of Rangitoto College.

"He told me I'd fail. I guess that was his way of making me prove him wrong."

Prove him wrong she did. Since 2015 she's been a Computing Kaiako at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and has studied and completed Te Ara Reo Māori and is in the process of applying to do her Post Graduate Diploma in IT for more content knowledge in her current employment.

"Even though I've been a tauira there's still more to learn," she says.

"A few doors closed, before one opened, so don't live behind excuses.
You won't know until you try."

 Back to news & events

Published On:

Article By:



Other Articles

  • 24 January 2023

    From Kenya to Aotearoa - Toi and its many connection's

    Jennifer Dickerson, a self-proclaimed "Third Culture Kid" due to her unique upbringing around the world, has discovered who she is through art.

  • 19 December 2022

    Masters opens door to book project

    Juggling work as Communications Advisor for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa while completing his masters, and writing a book has meant Tracey Cooper’s plate has been rather full recently. Fortunately with his exegesis completed, book published and work in wind-down mode for Christmas he’s able to take a breather and reflect on his journey through study.

  • 15 December 2022

    ‘Rererangi ki te Ao’ Opens doors at Kirikiriroa Airport

    Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Kairuruku and Pouwhenua Whakairo (master carver), Professor Kereti G. Rautangata, (nō Ngāti Mahanga, Ngāti Koroki Kahukura) and his team of carvers have left their mark on a significant piece of the Waikato landscape.

  • 14 December 2022

    Making a difference with mau rākau

    Tamiaho Searancke, who started learning the art of mau rākau at age three from his kuia and kaumatua, has guided another cohort of tauira through their journey of learning the ancient Māori martial art.