UCMe - Soul, Civil Engineering, University of Canterbury, NZ
Soul Ngakau Limpus OReilly


Soul Civil Engineering
Ngāti Kahungunu

What’s been the highlight of your degree so far?

I loved the bridge challenge we did in Civil Engineering. We had to work in groups to design and build a bridge that three people could get across. We also had to incorporate a Māori aspect. We made ours about Tūkaiaia, a giant seabird and Māori guardian, to reflect the mythology of Ngātiwai. Unfortunately our bridge failed after the second person, but it was still fun and we learned a heck of a lot!

What are you enjoying about student life?

In first year I lived in a hall which was the best time of my life. The people have been amazing and I love all the extracurricular activities on offer. We created an informal group called the jog squad. We get people out running a couple of times a week. We had about 70 people on our biggest run! I’m also on the execs of the Student Volunteer Army (SVA) and an eco club called Te Ohu Kākāriki.

What do you enjoy about getting involved in all these different things?

For me it’s all about the people. One of my favourite sayings is He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata – What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, the people, the people. I think that’s really true. The other thing I love is the fact that you get to make a positive difference. Being part of a club helps you make things happen. It’s really cool.

"Knowing a bit of te reo is part of being a Kiwi, and as someone with a Māori upbringing it’s great to be able to share and promote that."

How do you stay connected and engaged in kaupapa Māori activities at UC?

I’ve been helping to make SVA an organisation that is aware of the importance of honouring the Treaty of Waitangi. We’re going to introduce karakia and waiata, as well as promote more te reo Māori. Knowing a bit of Te Reo is part of being a Kiwi, and as someone with a Māori upbringing it’s great to be able to share and promote that.

How have you grown at UC?

I think my time here has helped me find myself. Uni is the first time in your life where you get to choose who you want to hang out with and who you want to be. I’ve really enjoyed that. I’ve also become more confident in voicing my beliefs, and from an engineering perspective I’ve gained a really strong foundation of knowledge. UC is a great place to start fresh and be yourself, and hopefully that’s a better you!