'The objective of my thesis was to propose scenarios to improve the overall economics of this industry...'
Data Analyst, Forestry Service, Indonesia
Originally from Salatiga, Indonesia, Pipiet won a New Zealand Aid scholarship and came to UC to study Forestry Science as a postgraduate student. She threw herself wholeheartedly into the experience of overseas study and encourages others to do the same.
‘For people who do study as their first experience living overseas, the challenges will of course be greater than for others,’ she says. ‘I felt one hundred per cent welcomed. Kiwis are very friendly, and highly respectful of overseas people. I want to help more people to apply for New Zealand scholarships or come here to study, and I’ve written some tips in my blog.’
Pipiet took on roles as president of the Indonesian Students’ Association in Canterbury and treasurer of the UC Postgraduate Students’ Association. She advises others that the best way to settle in is to get involved with any available activities, to ‘get out of your comfort zone, and seek as many experiences as you can’.
She says she really enjoyed her time at UC.
‘I do a lot of travelling and photography, and some of my writing about the beauty of Christchurch, Canterbury and New Zealand was published in a commercial travel magazine.’
Pipiet’s role for the Forestry Service in Indonesia is one that allows her to contribute to a national issue she is passionate about.
‘Indonesia has the world’s third largest area of tropical forest and the world’s second highest level of biodiversity. I think that those haven’t been well-managed in the past,’ she says.
‘Most of the communities connected with the forest are categorised as poor and have a limited access to basic services, such as health service, education, and electricity. Those circumstances have caused some problems, such as illegal logging. My job is to involve the community in the management of the forest so that our goal of sustainable forest management is achieved.’
Pipiet’s master’s thesis looked specifically at the teak furniture industry. ‘The furniture industry in Jepara is a labour-intensive business which provided 176,000 jobs in 2005 and affects the livelihoods of approximately 4–5 million Indonesians. Unfortunately, only eighty per cent of the enterprises survived between 2007 and 2011. The objective of my thesis was to propose scenarios to improve the overall economics of this industry.’
Pipiet presented her research at the New Zealand Institute of Forestry conference, at the Indonesian Student International Conference (KIPI) in Brisbane and at the International Forestry Graduate Students’ Conference in Kuala Lumpur. She is grateful for the experiences her postgraduate study provided and says one of the best things about the degree is that ‘I met a lot of lovely people who are very knowledgeable and have great points of view, not only about forestry, but other things too.’
Since returning to her home country, Pipiet has been working as a civil servant in the forestry service, creating and supporting public policy and now educating others.
‘My job as a data analyst includes empowering communities through entrepreneurship, and monitoring and supervising forest product processing industries. I am also going to teach marketing for university students.’
Pipiet’s own learning opportunities have not stopped since she completed her degree. In 2014 she won the Dutch government’s StuNed Scholarship / Nuffic NESO Indonesia to join an international course on Market Access for Sustainable Development at Wageningen University, Netherlands. She continues to actively promote UC’s School of Forestry, and featured in Indonesia’s biggest national newspaper.