Small business owner, Kawhena Rangihaeata Puha, overcame her struggles with dyslexia to complete the Level 4 Certificate in Small Business last year at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
With the support of her kaiako (teacher), Julie Falls-Anderson, Kawhena was able to work through the study requirements at her own pace. She’s since started working towards her Diploma in Small Business and Project Management at the Te Wānanga o Aotearoa campus in Christchurch.
“Julie had all the time in the world and was very patient. She had good energy and didn’t belittle me. She guided me with my assignments which gave me confidence, and I didn’t feel judged.”
Kawhena owns and operates The Hopes Collection, with her husband, Haupai Puha, one of the top professional dart players in Aotearoa.
The couple sell dart merchandise and offer coaching sessions, and with the skills and knowledge that Kawhena has gained from her studies, they hope to grow their business and better provide for their whānau and community.
“The programme has allowed me to use my creative ideas and turn it into a business. Going to Te Wānanga o Aotearoa helped me understand e-commerce, manufacturing, systems, and how to build a community around us to start making change.”
Kawhena and her whānau have big hopes to grow their business, so they can eventually help and guide other up-and-coming Māori sportspeople.
Kawhena described the environment at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa as whānau friendly and one where she felt safe to be herself and learn without judgement.
“When I open the doors and walk into Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Ōtautahi (Christchurch), it feels like home. It’s a nice break from business life, and I’m always excited to be there.”