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Liam.

Law and Arts.

Ngāi Tahu

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Liam's Story


Liam is using his studies in Law and Arts to focus on the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Being part of an indigenous population myself and the support I’ve had from my iwi has inspired me on that path. I want to contribute my skills to the collective identity I’m part of.

Global business and travel means we come into closer contact with other ways of life and belief systems. Having empathy and appreciation for other cultures is a very useful skill for anyone’s future.

Tell us about what you’re studying here. What inspired your choice?

I’m getting my Masters of Law, focusing on rights for indigenous people. Being part of an indigenous population myself and the support I’ve had from my iwi has inspired me on that path. I want to contribute my skills to the collective identity I’m part of.

What's the importance of Te Ao Māori to students today?

It’s another way of seeing the world. New Zealand is a bicultural place and both Māori and Pākehā viewpoints are equally valuable. It’s important for students from any background to understand and embrace our unique dualist environment.

What’s the benefit of having bicultural competency?

The world has become smaller. Global business and travel means we come into closer contact with other ways of life and belief systems. Having empathy and appreciation for other cultures is a very useful skill for anyone’s future.

You've received several scholarships for your work – congratulations!

It’s always great to earn recognition for hard work. I wasn’t the most academic person throughout high school, nor in my first few years of uni. But I’ve realised that doing well goes beyond my personal awards to seeing the wider impact they have on others.

How does UC help students to achieve?

There are lots of student services. For Māori students there’s Te Akatoki, the Māori students’ association, Te Pūtairiki Māori Law students’ association, and the Māori Development Team. All the lecturers at Aotahi, the School of Māori and Indigenous Studies, are passionate about what they do. The way they deliver learning is in a way that’s been a good fit for me.

It sounds like an accessible (and fun!) place.

Aotahi is set up to be accessible. There are always students studying in the foyer, practicing performing arts, just having a good time. Looking more broadly, I really like the fact that we’re all on one campus. There’s a strong sense of Kotahitanga, or oneness here.

If you could give newcomers one piece of advice, it would be…

In my first year, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. It’s important to keep an open mind when you start. Have goals, but remember that they can be reassessed and change shape. Take time to figure out where your passions do lie and then follow that.