I am from Ngunguru, a small coastal town east of Whangarei in
Northland. Currently, I am working on the Landonline project with
EDS (NZ) Ltd and Land Information New Zealand as a GIS
(Geographical Information Systems) operator. This involves the
conversion of land information from paper to computer format.
I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Physical Geography for
which I received a Faculty of Science Centennial Scholarship. I
enjoyed mentoring for Awhina for two years while at university and
this year I look forward to continuing my support for Maori and
Pacific Nations science students as a career mentor.
Awhina benefits both mentors and the students they support,
it's giving us all a chance to show what we can do.
Ko Hikurangi te maunga
Ko Waiapu te awa
Porou te iwi
Ko Te Whanau-a-Ruataupare ki Tuparoa, Te Aitanga
a Mate, Ngati Rangi, Te Whanau a Umuariki, Ngati Hinekehu nga hapu
Kia ora koutou,
I hail from the East Coast but
have largely grown up (kind of) in Porirua and the Kapiti Coast.
With frequent visits back to the coast I have managed to keep in
contact with whanau as well as gained heaps of support from the
ones who know me and love me the most. It is because of this
support that I am where I am today. It has also shown me how
important it is that people have the kind of support that I am
lucky enough to have to help fulfil the potential that we all
I have just finished my five year tour of duty at
Victoria, coming out with barely a scratch and a BA (Hons) in
Psychology. In my final year (2001) I had the honour of being an
Awhina mentor for 1st and 2nd year psychology students, and was in
awe of the work by those in Awhina to give support to Maori and
Pacific Nation students studying science.
Having moved on
from university for the time being I find myself working as a
researcher for the Family Centre, a non-profit organisation that
focuses on people disadvantaged because of sex, race, and/or
social-economic status. We are involved in a broad range of
activities including family therapy, community development,
research, and education and training. I'm currently enrolled for
my Masters degree for which I received an HRC scholarship.
I am part Samoan and the
first of my family to go to university. I have completed a BCA/BSc
conjoint degree and a BSc(Hons) degree in statistics, while
tutoring Maori and Pacific Nations students in statistics and
To me Awhina is a way of giving something back and
raising the profile of maths and sciences in Maori and Pacific
Nations communities. I have left University and am working at
TOWER managed funds as a student actuary, but I will be supporting
Awhina as a career mentor and trying to get others in the
workplace to do likewise.
Tena Koutou Katoa
Ko Robyn Bryant toku
Ko Ngati Apa toku iwi
Ko Nga Wairiki toku hapu
Ko Kurahaupo toku waka
Kia ora, Talofa! My name
is Robyn Bryant and I have a Bachelor of Design majoring in
Graphic Design. It's a four year degree and lots of hard work but
also heaps of fun.
I grew up in a small town in in Central
Otago called Alexandra where I enjoyed ice-skating, skiing, and
also being part of the kapahaka. I moved to Wellington to begin
the course, and loved every minute of it. I based my final year
project on a Maori clothing label called Matiu which was
influenced by Kupe and the Wellington region. I designed a graphic
identity as though there is a Matiu store (you may see some of
these images within this site).
My other interests
include; painting, flute, piano, Maori Art and culture, tramping,
swimming, and mountain biking. I am currently looking to work in
the graphic design industry, focusing on Maori design. I would
also like to get my clothing label out into the market, as I
believe it has a lot of potential. My design can also be seen on
the Awhina t-shirt that all mentors are proud to wear!
Hi, my name is Susan
Forbes, I am an archaeologist and a graduate of Victoria
University with a BA(Hons).
I originally specialized in
underwater and coastal occupation sites of the Mediterranean (for
which I was a Royal Geographic Society and Rolex award winner for
enterprise). I am now absorbed in the task of researching and
protecting the "once-wet places" of the lower North Island.
This work in coastal dune and wetland ecosystems has resulted
in a lifelong commitment towards ensuring the families and Hapu of
Te Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai flourish and thrive in their home
I am also the environment and heritage manager of
the Runanga Unit (Kapakapanui); Whitireia Polytechnic Research
Coordinator; mother of two great boys; wife of Anaru Kim.
Paki Macken Maaka:
Ngati Kahungunu & Kainuku (Rarotonga)
Registered Architect, eldest of five children born in Lower Hutt,
educated and raised in Wainuiomata with previous employment as a
Telecom technician, a postie, and labourer.
BBSc & BArch
(Hons) 1994 - a belated academic career which started aged 28 at
the Wellington Schools of Architecture & Design.
Currently practising as an architect with Craig, Craig and Moller
- experience includes hospitals, education, Housing NZ,
apartments, housing, and prisons.
I have been an Awhina
career mentor since 1999; tutored design papers at the School of
Architecture; and past juror with NZ Institute of Architecture
Actively involved with architectural issues in
Wellington through consulting to Wellington City Council regarding
the Waterfront and as secretary to the Wellington Architectural
Centre - I believe that architecture and society has a lot to gain
from the diversity of our emerging cultures.
Talofa my name is
Nigel Hunt. I am a Samoan from a fairly large family of 8 sisters
and one brother. I have a BSc in Computer Science, and a BA in
Education. University has been good to me, hopefully I can give
Don't forget the big secret to success -
"Ia e fa'atuatua i le Alii ma lou loto atoa; a e aua le
faalagolago i lou lava atamai. Ia e manatua o ia i ou ala uma, ona
faatonuina ai lea e ia lava ou ala."
work with the Wellington City Council in November 2001 as a
Strategic Advisor, Statitistics, Research and Reporting. My
responsibilities include the monitoring of the Council's
activities and projects throughout the community. I am responsible
for managing the statistical information that comes into and goes
out from the Council, including publications that report
statistics about Wellington. The position offers great scope to
apply and improve on the skills that I have gained and it's great
to be finally putting all the skills that I gained at university
I have always enjoyed playing with numbers
and solving problems. After studying for two years at polytech the
next step was to carry on studying at university level. The
prospect of studying science let alone mathematics at university
was daunting. I initially didn't have enough confidence in myself
to believe that I could achieve at that level. The first year at
Victoria University allowed me to find my feet and gain some
confidence in my abilities and myself.
Coming from a
Polynesian background it was fantastic to have the support of the
whanau network mentoring programme,Te Ropu Awhina Putaiao. It
really made a difference, especially when you just wanted contact
with people who were dealing with the same pressures and problems
that you were, or needed guidance from people that had been in the
same position as you, or needed a mentor who would offer you
practical, individual help with your studies.
in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Statistics and Operations
Research and a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies. Looking back
I am very glad that I completed an Arts degree with a Science
degree. It's very easy to get lost in the world of science and
it's important to gain the skills to successfully express yourself
to people who aren't necessarily scientifically minded.
Tena Koutou Katoa
Maungatautari to mauanga
Ko Ohau te awa
Ko Tainui te
Ko Tukorehe te marae
Ko Ngati Tukorehe te hapu
Ko Ngati Raukawa te iwi, me Ngati Porou nga iwi
Bird toku ingoa
I have been a part of Te Ropu
Awhina Putaiao since 1999 when it was first established at
Victoria University. I was then in my second year studying towards
a Bachelor of Science. Since then I have finished my BSc in 2000
majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Cell and
Developmental Biology. I have since decided to become a Maori
I have a five-year-old son called Tyler Grace and
a wonderfully supportive partner (Lee Grace) and whanau. Te Ropu
Awhina Putaiao provides the support and encouragement to help our
Maori and Pacific students to get through university studies. I
believe that Te Ropu Awhina Putaiao gave me the support to obtain
my BSc and I remain supportive as a graduate for them.
| || |
Ngati Raukawa (Horowhenua/Manawatu),
Kia Ora, my name is Rachael
Viles, and am of Maori descent. I have been a mentor for Te Ropu Awhina Putaiao since 2000, and
help mentor students in their first and second year of Maths. I
have found science to be a challenging but rewarding degree, and
through Te Ropu Awhina Putaiao hope to
encourage more Maori and Pacific Nation students to study
Ko Hikurangi te maunga
Ko Waiapu te awa
Ko Ngati Porou te iwi
Ko Tuwhakairiora te hapu
Tena koutou. My name is Melanie Russell and I have a Bachelor
of Science degree in Ecology and a Master of Science degree in
Marine Biology from Victoria University. I was a Te Ropu Awhina
Putaiao mentor for 3 years, including a year as a mentor for the
Outreach programme at Bishop Viard College. I was also lucky
enough to have a Tuapapa Putaiao Maori Fellowship (TPMF) for my
I have been working for the Ministry of Fisheries since May
2004, and transferred to Nelson in May 2005 to work as a Customary
Fisheries Facilitator. My job involves providing assistance to iwi
and hapu to enable the development of their fisheries management
strategies. It's a fantastic job that combines my passion for the
marine environment, and the empowerment of Tangata Whenua.
I really enjoyed my time at Victoria University and I value the
support and encouragement I received from the Te Ropu Awhina
Putaiao mentors and staff. I fully encourage all Maori and Pacific
Nation Science students to get involved in Te Ropu Awhina Putaiao,
either as a mentor or as a protege. It is a great whanau network,
especially if you are living away from home, and everyone is there
to assist you to reach your goals and much more.
No reira, whaia te iti kahurangi; ki te tuohu koe, me he
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa