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Inspiring futures

03 November 2023

UC graduates all over the world having amazing, diverse, inspiring careers. Studying with Aotahi is the best way to work within the Māori sector. It's also advantageous if you're thinking about working with government as a lawyer, accountant, journalist, or teacher. Check out inspiring futures with UC.


Most professional career pathways want people to have had some exposure to Te Ao Māori, and Aotahi is the place to get that experience, insight and add a star to your CV.

Our students share their experiences studying at Aotahi:


Jessica Templeton, 25, Ngāti Whawhakia, Ngāti te Wehi, Ngāti Punjabi and Ngāti Pākehā 2nd year PhD in Māori Entrepreneurship

In a relatively short space of time Jessica has already accumulated an impressive academic background and an equally remarkable work history. Growing up in Waikato, Jessica’s decision to study at the University of Canterbury was what prompted her move down south to Te Waipounamu. Jessica finished her Bachelor of Science and jumped straight into an internship with Christchurch based company Talbot Technologies. Getting her Master’s in engineering brought Jessica back to university before her graduate position at Shell in Taranaki.

Jessica wasn’t done with studying just yet. At the end of 2013 she returned to Canterbury to start her PhD in Māori Entrepreneurship.With her expansive work and study history, Jessica was an ideal candidate for a Māui Lab internship. She partnered with Aotahi and Te Pūtahitanga to review their enterprise coaching programme and says that being mentored by Aotahi was incredible learning experience.

"The Maui lab changed my perspective on what makes a good consultant. Seeing how I was able to help people, build connections and actually guide clients through that consultancy relationship, that's what I now look forward to doing."

The intercultural relationships that Jessica was able to establish through partnering with Aotahi have bloomed into further consulting work. Jessica spent the summer with UC Centre for Entrepreneurship. Support acquired from the team there helped guide the strategy and direction of the Yoga in Schools upstart; the innovative Te Reo Māori Yoga business founded by Letesha Hallett. Her new communication skills and consulting experience have made her just as sought after by Māori organisations as she was by other companies prior to the Māui Lab. Jessica says that being exposed to the needs of the Māori community gave her an entirely new context that was lacking in her educational and professional experience. "I felt like I learnt more about working with Māori during my time with Maui lab than I did in my entire undergrad."


Madi Williams, 21, Ngāti Kuia and Ngāti Kōata, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Honours

Staying close to whānau made the University of Canterbury an easy choice for Madi Williams. Now in her fourth year and working on her Honours, it is Madi’s relationship with Aotahi that has played a large role in her continued studies. Madi has partnered with Aotahi and the Māui lab on two consulting projects to date. Her first project was planning a transitional pathway for women coming out of prison. Madi says the work was hands-on, intense and showed how her academic skills like researching could be valuable in a job.

"I really enjoyed the work experience and getting to apply the skills I'd developed over the course of my degree, because a lot of people think that's something you can't do with a B.A."

Madi has also partnered with Aotahi on a project creating Indigenous leadership models for the Ngāi Tahu tribal wānanga. As a recipient of the Ngāi Tahu Research centre undergraduate scholarship, the John Connal Scholarship, the Neville Phillips History Prize, Arts Scholars Scholarship, and the Ngāi Tahu Postgraduate Fees Scholarship, it should come as no surprise that Madi’s research skills once again made an impact.

Madi is confident she can take the leap into further postgraduate studies, especially now she has started an academic portfolio, developed a great relationship with Aotahi and gained real experience working for a Māori organisation. Most of all, Madi is reassured by the fact that her work for Aotahi and the Māui lab has made a tangible difference.
"Nothing has been done like my project in all of New Zealand so I think that work exemplified the Māui school of thought and its approach to innovating research."

Diverse and growing sector

The Māori sector is now valued at $40 billion, with a rapid growth trajectory and increasing prominence. It is also a diverse sector, spanning private business, tribal organisations, Māori land incorporations and a raft of ‘third sector’ spheres including health, education, social services and the like. Studying at Aotahi will make you attractive to this growing sector.

Central and local government organisations also have a number of roles that are dedicated to working with Māori communities and/or addressing Māori interests within their area of responsibility. These roles can be as policy analysts, relationship brokers and beyond.

Most professional services companies, such as lawyers, accountants, engineers and the like are building their internal capability to engage with the Māori sector. Studying with Aotahi will make you more attractive to all of these potential employers.

Te reo Māori and Māori and Indigenous Studies are also highly valued in a number of sectors, including:

  • Government
  • Professional services, including the legal profession and management consulting
  • Education
  • Criminal justice
  • Health
  • Public policy
  • Social services

Studying with Aotahi can help you forge your career pathway and through our internships and other opportunities, we will also help you build relationships with potential employers while you study.

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