Rachel Panapa

'I was able to study both sport and my culture...'

  • Rachel Panapa

(Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Tainui)

Bachelor of Sport Coaching with an endorsement in He Oranga Tangata

As UC's first graduate of the Bachelor of Sport Coaching with the He Oranga Tangata (Māori Health and Well-being) endorsement, Rachel is looking forward to being able to contribute to the Māori community.

'I want to be in a job that allows me to use the knowledge and skills from my degree to help improve things for Māori within the health or education sector,' she says.

Rachel is a keen sportswoman, and especially likes touch, basketball and netball. She enjoys training school teams at all levels, and studying coaching as a degree has added much more depth to her knowledge.

'As a secondary school student, I didn't think much about what it takes to be a coach, other than teaching new skills. But the sociology subjects I've taken as part of the degree have shown me that there is much more to it than just teaching. The sociology behind sport coaching really intrigues me.'

In her second year, a new endorsement in He Oranga Tangata (Māori Health and Well-being) was introduced to the BSpC programme and Rachel leapt at the chance to specialise.

'I also gained a passion for my culture during secondary school, where I disliked the comments and negative stereotypes that came with being Māori. I knew the new endorsement was the right pathway for me, as I was able to study both sport and my culture. I really enjoyed the Māori and Indigenous Studies courses that I took. They opened my eyes to the history of not only my people but my ancestors too, and how their actions in the past have affected our lives today.'

Rachel is therefore delighted she chose UC for her tertiary education. Not only did it offer the perfect degree for her, but she was able to stay near her family.

'I was also drawn to the reputation that UC has within the Christchurch community,' she says.

The sense of community fostered at the University is a real positive for Rachel, who took part in the Māori mentoring scheme.

'I got such a warm welcome from the mentors and the Māori Development Team during my first year that I wanted to get involved,' she explains.

Rachel does not hesitate to recommend her degree to others.

'I enjoyed having the privilege of getting to know the lecturers, and I have made some close friends along the way.

'If you're interested in sport and Māori issues then the He Oranga Tangata endorsement is the pathway for you. Not many people would choose it, but I can tell you now you'll have heaps of fun in both the Sport Coaching and Māori and Indigenous Studies classes.'

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