'My degrees have put me in the best possible place to positively impact this system...'
Team Coordinator, Te Wero | Te Ao Prison Education Project
What led you into Criminal Justice studies?
I envision myself enacting positive change within our criminal justice system. I was initially really interested in becoming a police officer, but I soon figured out that if I wanted to create real change I had to move into different roles behind the scenes.
So has it given you a better platform to make a difference?
The thing I find most interesting about my study is how crucial criminal justice is to our social and political world. Everyone knows something about criminal justice and almost everyone can be a self-proclaimed expert. Criminal justice is forever changing and often unpredictable; the field offers so many diverse options for work and opportunity to positively impact lives.
Both my study and my job offer me the opportunity to continue to learn and continue to help those involved in our justice system.
How has UC helped you get there?
I choose to study at UC because there is no other degree like Criminal Justice in the country. The lecturers and expertise within the department is extremely valuable to students. All of our lecturers were charismatic and a pleasure to be taught by.
UC itself has a fantastic campus and an amazing club scene with some fantastic events, definitely something it has above any other university in the country. If you feel like you have a niche interest or passion, I guarantee there is a club for it at UC.
Being involved in the club scene as an Executive of CrimSoc (a must join club for all Criminal Justice students) has been an absolute blast and I would recommend that to all students.
Outside of my study I love my sport and have been involved in the National University Futsal Championships as well as being a Canterbury representative.
You also got to volunteer with the Prison Education Project through Community Law Canterbury on campus, and now you’re a Team Coordinator. What do you do within that?
My role as a Team Coordinator requires me to help plan and deliver education seminars to youth offenders at Christchurch Prison.
This is a fantastic role that allows me to work one-on-one with offenders, as well as operating in a team of student volunteers. Our sessions aim to educate the young men about legal and social issues that they will face upon reintegration into society.
And these experiences helped you decided to go onto master’s study?
I learnt through my study that our criminal justice system has a lot of flaws, and my degrees have put me in the best possible place to positively impact this system. Both of my Criminal Justice degrees offer fantastic insight into the realms of law enforcement, social welfare, psychology, indigenous issues, and a wide range of contemporary criminal justice problems.
One of the best things about my study is how relevant and applicable it is within my work. Understanding and learning about the cultural and social factors relevant to offending serve me incredibly well in building relationships with young offenders. My study has put me in the best possible position to understand the lives of those within the criminal justice system and help guide them through it.
So what do you plan to do with your degrees?
My number one career goal is to address overrepresentation of Māori in our criminal justice system. The statistics are frankly horrifying, and from the moment I learnt about them I was focused on finding a way to solve them.
I don’t know where this may take me, but no matter what role I end up in this will always be a goal of mine.