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GROWING PRIDE IN
TE AO MĀORI

RUBY. ARTS & SCIENCE.
NGĀTI POROU.

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Ruby's Story


An internship in Thailand inspired Ruby to learn more about her Māori culture. Discover what other opportunities UC has given her.

For now in New Zealand, my Māori degree enables me to help with the Department of Conservation in a communication capacity.

Biculturalism is really embraced here and seems to grow year on year. We had Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, with a whole week of great initiatives. There were tons of cool things, like if you ordered your coffee in Te Reo you got it for half price!

Tell us about your studies!

I've just finished my Bachelor of Science majoring in Biology. I had no intention of studying Arts but I went to Thailand and I absolutely loved learning about the culture over there. It inspired me to learn more about my own culture so I enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Māori and Indigenous Studies.

It sounds like Thailand was a turning point for you.

It was. It was a six-week internship at the Children's Foundation, teaching abandoned and abused children. It was really heart-wrenching but also an absolute life changer. It gave me a new appreciation for the life I have here.

What have you been up to back at UC?

I've just applied to be on the student exec at Te Akatoki, the Māori Students Association. Coming back I've really tried to involve myself in everything Māori because growing up I wasn't taught much about my own culture. To be able to come here and learn the language and history is a real eye-opener.

What change has that created for you?

Now when my auntie and uncle come down I can understand them when they're speaking in Māori! When my dad passed away I was able to give a whole karakia in Te Reo. That was a huge thing for me. I used to shy away from being Māori but now I'm really proud of it. I have a new sense of belonging.

Is there appreciation for Māori culture at UC?

Biculturalism is really embraced here and seems to grow year on year. We had Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, with a whole week of great initiatives. There were tons of cool things, like if you ordered your coffee in Te Reo you got it for half price!

What's your dream for the future?

My aspiration has always been to go to Borneo or South Africa to help with wildlife rehabilitation. For now in New Zealand, my Māori degree enables me to help with the Department of Conservation in a communication capacity. It's a great way to bring my two degrees together. I'm super proud of what I've achieved here at UC!