'I love the challenge of trying to get the best out of people...'
(Te Arawa, Te Ati Haunui-a-Pāpārangi and Ngāti Tūwharetoa)
Studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resources Management and Management
For Michael, his first week at the University of Canterbury was a pivotal point in his life.
He had been living on campus for less than a week and was attending his second day of lectures when the February 21, 2011 earthquake struck.
‘The night of the earthquake, those of us from our hall of residence who stayed on camped out in the dining room, and that shared experience really drew us closer together,’ he says.
‘The friends I made in my first six days at UC made me come back to Christchurch after the earthquake. I just felt like I’d found my niche. I’d come from a small rural school where school work was not really a focus for many of the students, and I had finally found like-minded people.’
In terms of study, however, Michael says he struggled to make the transition from school to university. But he hit his straps in his third year, getting his best results ever and winning a $10,000 Tāwera Scholarship, one of 30 given to penultimate and final-year Māori commerce students nationally.
‘I’ve finally learned what it takes to get the results I want,’ he says.
He now shares his experience by mentoring other young Māori students through the Māori Development Team (MDT) at UC.
‘I never took advantage of having a mentor when I started at UC. I thought I knew everything and, if I didn't, my friends would. It's really valuable talking to someone who has done what you are about to do yourself. I regret not being involved with the MDT sooner – they're always there to offer advice or point you in the right direction.’
Michael had started out by taking a BCom in Marketing and Management, which he felt would be a ‘good suit’ for his creative and communication skills. In his second year, however, he gained an insight into Human Resources Management through MGMT 207 and decided to change his major.
‘I enjoyed the course content so much I decided to add more HR papers to my degree,’ he says. ‘I love the challenge of trying to get the best out of people in order to achieve personal or shared goals.’
His hard work and talent for communication has paid off, and Michael is excited to have secured a graduate role in Wellington with the Clemenger Group, Australasia’s largest advertising and communications company, even before completing his undergraduate degree.
‘I’m really glad I came to UC in the first place and really glad I stayed.’