UC graduate a passionate voice for tauira Māori
05 December 2022
Studying at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | the University of Canterbury has enabled Anna Pohatu (Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Rongowhakaata), to expand on her reo Māori, while providing a voice for tauira Māori.
When she graduates this month, Anna will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Te Reo Māori and Māori & Indigenous Studies. She will also become a trailblazer in her whānau.
“I am very proud to just be graduating. I am the first person in my whānau to go to university, and from this have also encouraged my cousins and younger sibling to go into tertiary education,” she says.
“I am passionate about my culture and language, and wanted to expand my knowledge and reo Māori. I would love to be at a place where I am confident with my reo and mātauranga Māori, and studying at UC is helping me to achieve that. It has also helped me to notice my passion for providing a voice for tauira Māori and their success, and given me so many opportunities to explore that.”
This year Anna is the Tumuaki Tuarua (Vice-President) of Te Akatoki (UC’s Māori Students’ Association), which runs events, social sports and advocates for tauira Māori. Anna says the cultural connections she made at UC helped her to complete her studies.
“I am very proud to have been a part of Te Akatoki – if it wasn’t for UC Māori (team), Te Waka Pākākano and Te Akatoki, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They have been such a huge support system that has helped me to stay connected and active in te ao Māori, and encouraged me to speak te reo Māori whenever I can,” she says.
“As a tauira Māori, it is important to stay connected with your culture, so I am proud to be part of an organisation that provides the best support and resources to ensure tauira Māori at UC succeed academically, culturally and socially. Being a part of Te Akatoki is my biggest achievement as I have gained more knowledge and skills to add to my kete, as well as a connection to the Māori community here in Waitaha and to many tauira Māori across Aotearoa.”
In 2023, Anna will be the Tumuaki (President) of Te Akatoki while completing her postgraduate study in Māori & Indigenous Studies as the first step towards her master’s degree and long-term career aspiration to make a difference in her local community.
“After university, I hope to be working within a Māori health or community organisation that works with rangatahi and the whānau within the community. Growing up in Hornby, I can see the disconnection of our Māori community and I hope that I can help bring together a strong Māori community that our rangatahi can grow in and that our whānau can be continuously supported.”
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