Māori and Pasifika staff & student profiles

Alumni, students and staff discuss their experiences studying at Victoria Business School.

Sovaia Uluiburotu (Fiji)

Management/Human Resources & Industrial Relations Management

Sovaia Uluiburotu, studying for a BCom in Human Resources & Industrial Relations Management

Coming straight out of high school into a university context was quite daunting for me. By choosing to do a double Bachelor of Commerce major in Management and Human Resource Management & Industrial Relations, I seemed a lot to have on my plate! However, I have enjoyed the study and the opportunities here in the School of Management.

The double major has enabled me to learn the fundamentals of successful organisations, in particular the challenges of managing and developing people. I have had the opportunity to represent Victoria University in the Student Ambassador programme funded by the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand. This has exposed me to many career options and allowed me to network with human resource management professionals, mentors and students from across New Zealand.

Studying at Victoria University has been a fantastic experience. The way the courses have been designed has allowed me to learn, engage and develop in a supportive and dynamic environment.

Mele Katea Paea (Tonga)

PhD in Management

Mele Paea, studying for a PhD in Management

In my academic development and research experiences in New Zealand in the field of Management, I have always had an interest in searching for alternatives that would utilise my cultural leadership potential in another cultural setting in the area of Pacific Leadership. This belief was initially prompted when conducting my Master of Management Studies (MMS) thesis in 2007-08 and led to my PhD thesis.

Being a full-time PhD student, a mother of four young children, and a part-time employee is one of the toughest commitments I have ever experienced. My research requires commitment, determination, and a lot of thinking and writing. However, my family is always available to give me the pastoral support that I need, and my supervisors at Victoria give their critical feedback to guide my academic development.

One of my co-workers at home said to me before I left in 2005 to do my Masters, that Victoria is one of the best universities for commerce studies in New Zealand. This has been proved to me through the School of Management's level of commitment to their research students, including following-up on progress, which shows that they want to get the best performance possible out of us.

Leichelle Pompey (Ngāti Maniapoto)

Tourism and Māori Business

Liechelle Pompey, studying Tourism and Māori Business

My initial decision to study at Vic was simple and practical -- it is close to home and I heard that the BTM was a really cool course to study and it wasn’t offered by Massey. Now that I’m here I’m happy that I did choose Vic; my lecturers are really cool individuals who have a passion for teaching and I’ve received such tremendous support from Te Putahi Atawhai Mentoring network and Tapuwai Tahi. Both groups have definitely made my first year much easier and less stressful. However, although I’m part of the Māori support network, I don't ever feel any different to the students around me in my lectures. There is a lot of support for all students, not only Māori.

My desire to succeed definitely comes from the support I also receive from my family. Both my parents are school teachers and they not only know the value of an education, but what it's like to be a uni student. I don't have any specific plans for the future because I'd much rather leave my options open to a number of possibilities, and right now I'm focused on learning new things and completing my degree.

Talosaga Talosaga (Samoa)

Economics (Honours)

Talosaga Talosaga, studying for a BCom(Hons) in Economics

I first became interested in Economics at college while studying science and politics. It brings the logical analysis and empiricism from science and applies it to the ‘human’ or more ‘real world’ issues that politics is interested in, and the mixture definitely appeals to me.

I value very highly my time at University, and the ability to learn from great lecturers. I’ve received academic, financial and personal support from Victoria University services like Student Learning Support Services, Student Finance and Student Health, and also volunteered as a Te Pūtahi Atawhai mentor which gave me the opportunity to support others.

For an Economics student, Wellington is great because of government departments like Treasury and the Reserve Bank where key economic decisions are made. There are also a number of research institutes based here which offer alternate points of view on government policy and the state of the economy. Being so close to many government departments and economics research institutes is great when the time comes to seeking employment. Wellington is also very creative city, and there are always interesting local bands playing in bars and clubs in town, which is great if you’re a music fan.

Staff profiles

Francine McGee

School Manager – School of Econimics & Finance

Francine McGee, School of Economics and Finance

Francine McGee is the School Manager in the School of Economics and Finance, providing operational support and management to administrative staff and services in the delivery of undergraduate, post graduate and post experience courses offered by the School.

Francine chose to work at Victoria University because of the positive feedback she received from others, including her sister who also worked at Vic, and says the part she enjoys most about her daily work is the interaction with students and staff.

She describes herself as a "cultural melting pot", through her Māori and Chinese heritage and marriage to a Tokelauan, and credits her ability to relate to all students to that diverse background.

Francine is also a graduate of the Faculty of Commerce, having completed her Certificate in Māori Business in 2014.

As a fulltime employee and mother, she said she found the work/life balance very challenging but would like to encourage students to keep going when it gets difficult.

"There's always someone at Vic to support you, whether it's your studies or personal issues," she says.

"Completing my certificate has given me an insight into the life of a student, and it really makes me want to see our students succeed in their studies. If I didn’t persevere then, I wouldn’t have achieved what I have now."