After receiving the Emerging Leaders’ scholarship I got onto their exec. This year I've been re-elected as Cultural and Social Coordinator. Previously I was the Rotary associate coordinator. Rotary does a lot of amazing community engagement projects which I get to pitch to students.
Volunteering is something you do for the fellowship, the service and the community. Some of the people in Rotary include top lawyers and engineers, marketing people and property developers so it's a great opportunity to learn from them as well.
Yes, I've been a mentor with the Tuakana program. I've also helped with events like the Ngā Manu Kōrero school speech competition. It's been a good way to get engaged. I grew up with a mainly Pakeha background but at Ngā Manu Kōrero it was awesome to see so many fluent Te Reo speakers thriving in one place. It's been interesting to understand how important the language is to the overall culture.
The Māori Development Team is awesome in that regard. Beyond volunteering and events, they also run workshops. They did one about biculturalism which was a great way to learn about how to approach different cultures. They taught us the concept of the "iceberg". It's the idea that it's easy to see the differences between cultures but underneath there's a huge amount we have in common.
"I grew up with a mainly Pakeha background but at Ngā Manu Korero it was awesome to see so many fluent Te Reo speakers thriving in one place."
I went to Peking University on a scholarship with 12 other students; Peking University is regarded as China’s top university. I was doing a research project that looked at what success means to Chinese students. We did a few tours as well, to the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. We even went to the opera!
I've learned so much both inside and outside the classroom. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and connect with the wider community. There’s also the journey I've gone on in terms of learning more about my culture. My motto is “lifelong learning” so this is a great place to be!