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Student story

Anna-Stesia Katea Long McLean

20 July 2023

"I am very interested in contemporary Treaty issues, both in NZ and in other colonised nations..."


(Tainui, Ngāti Tūwharetoa)

Bachelor of Criminal Justice

Client Service Advisor, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

"I enjoy the fact that through my studies, I have learnt how to make informed opinions and express these in a clear and effective way," Anna says of her Criminal Justice studies. Her degree focused on the interaction of indigenous peoples with the criminal justice system, both in New Zealand and internationally.

While Anna initially started at UC in Engineering, the introduction of the Criminal Justice degree was a perfect opportunity that better aligned with her interests.

"I really liked the focus on New Zealand that the Criminal Justice degree had, as well as being tied in quite nicely with criminal law. I am very interested in contemporary Treaty issues, both in New Zealand and in other colonised nations, so this too drew me in.

"I have been able to realise that the media plays a significant role in how society’s views regarding crime and who commits crime may not be entirely accurate, and is something to discuss rather than accept."

Towards the end of her degree study, Anna was also a Research Assistant for the School of Law carrying out research tasks, such as mapping sub-divisions around Christchurch after the earthquakes and investigating the social and environmental impact, and reviewing new technology used in the criminal justice system from a Māori perspective.

"Being able to focus specifically on the impact of the earthquakes on the environment and people of Christchurch from different angles has been interesting to say the least. It has definitely made me think that the Government should be paying much closer attention to what is happening here, and applying what they have learnt to other areas of the country (eg, Wellington, my home town).

"I find researching very rewarding, it is something that I hope to do in my future careers," she says.

During her final year, Anna won the Gerald Orchard Prize in Criminal Justice (Principles of Evidence), and received a Dean’s Commendation for her results in the CRJU 309 International Criminal Law course.

"I would advise people to take a broad range of electives in the third year as it is amazing what is being offered by the School of Law for the BCJ.

"I enjoyed meeting people who had come from completely different backgrounds to me, but who were open to discussing different issues and topics in a meaningful way."

Support from the Māori Development Team helped to reinforce her learning and ideas within the community.

"They were a huge help for me in regards to my legal studies. I went to a number of the tutorials put on by MDT which significantly helped with my studies. Having constant contact with them throughout my study boosted my confidence and allowed me to connect with other students studying the same degree."

Another group that Anna was regularly involved in was the UC Women’s Weight Lifting Club.

"This club was quite unique in that there were a number of us who came together due to our interest in powerlifting and weightlifting. From there it grew into assisting other students with using the weights in the gym and making sure people had the correct form and technique to prevent injury."

Her love for fitness also meant spare time getting involved in sports, with a particular passion for basketball and watching the NBA, and also op-shopping.

Anna’s next step is looking forward to postgrad Law study at Monash University in Australia, and then onto volunteer work and becoming an employment lawyer.

"I think that this will be a great thing for me as I have never left New Zealand. I will be able to step outside of my comfort zone, whilst continuing to do what I love best, studying!"

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