“Someone in social work introduced me to this field and recommended I apply for a scholarship to study. I am a truck driver and digger driver by trade and I didn’t believe I could study at a tertiary level because I left school early. I started with the Mental Health and Addictions course in Kerikeri and now I’m on my way to my degree!”
“I did distance learning at Massey for a while but NorthTec suits me better because it’s face to face learning. I drive the NorthTec van from my home base in Kaitaia to Whangarei every day collecting and delivering other students, so I get either classroom or library study time five days a week. The commuting is a challenge but I’m getting A+ pass-marks by being able to attend like this.”
“I’m really surprised that I am able to achieve this level of study – and that my wife and I are actually now considering moving to Whangarei for a year to support it.”
“Our class has students from South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, India, and England as well as sixth generation pakeha, so we are learning many different perspectives. The tutors have put me in a tuakana (supporting) role.”
“I’m planning to work in drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation in Kaitaia. I’ve been clean and sober for 20 years and there is so much need up there for male role models.”
“The biggest thing I’ve learnt in this journey is not to doubt your learning abilities. You can do anything you want to once you remove your own mind blocks.”
I’m getting the confidence now to carry on with higher levels of learning. As I continue educating and healing myself...
“I believe that because I’ve experienced addiction, I can utilize the talents I’ve been blessed with to support others to move forward.”
“This course is giving me an overview about mental health and addictions that I didn’t have. The different tutors are helping me get a better understanding and context and I’m getting extra help privately.”
“I started doing the course in Whangarei when I was at Women’s Refuge, then Housing New Zealand got a house for me up here so I transferred the credits. I haven’t studied for years so I’m learning to be patient with myself and others and to adjust to being in a classroom environment. We’re all on the same journey here so we get huge support from each other and from the tutors.”
“I’m getting the confidence now to carry on with higher levels of learning. As I continue educating and healing myself, job opportunities are starting to come my way.”
“My first priority is to finish the course and my dream would be to work with and support people in my own community – especially youth.”
I love meeting the people here and sharing ideas. I tend to think in black and white so I like to see and learn...
“A passion for health and well-being has replaced my substance addictions. My progress has come from a pathway of self-discovery that I hope to pass on to others.”
Floyd has learnt the hard way. “I was sent to prison for 10 years for something I did when I was quite young. The steps that led me to prison were fuelled by substance addictions. Inside, I got the punishment but not the help I needed so I dug deep into myself to find a way up. We were offered courses so I did three levels of horticulture and one of auto engineering while I was there.”
“I got work in a saw-mill when I got out and have since finished a Mechanical Engineering Certificate in Maintenance and Diagnostics. My real sense of purpose came when I started some hard-out gym work. The physical training got me hooked on health instead of substances, plus it cleared my body and mind of a lot of toxic stuff.”
“In fitness training you set yourself small goals, and by achieving them you gradually lift your self-esteem. I now come over to Kaikohe from Rawene every day for voluntary training in the gym, with a view to take over the business, and I’m doing the Mental Health and Addictions course at the same time.”
“I love meeting the people here and sharing ideas. I tend to think in black and white so I like to see and learn different ways of looking at things.”
“I have a bigger vision of what I want to create but for now I’m committed to completing the course. I want to open doors for people who may not have those doors open because of circumstances or prejudice. Through the gym, I’ve already been able to help a young guy with some mental health issues win a regional and then national power lifting title. I’m confident I can help because I have the experience – and am now getting the training.”
Some aspects of science are a challenge but once I get the breakthrough moment and understand something, I love it...
“I was home schooled in rural Hokianga so I’m loving having a teacher in a classroom and other students for support. When my parents moved to Whangarei I switched to Correspondence School then after six months I had some personal struggles and found it harder to be motivated.”
“I had an epiphany just before turning 18. I realized I was leaving school with next-to-nothing and needed to do something to turn my life around. I contacted NorthTec and asked for advice to stair-step my way into study. We narrowed the choices down to nursing and social services and I chose social services but that needed level 3 Foundation Studies, so this is my start point.”
“Some aspects of science are a challenge but once I get the breakthrough moment and understand something, I love it. We have three cool tutors who all have different styles and I’m learning lots. I’m back into the rhythm of study, I have a goal to keep motivated, and I’ve just bought a car.”
“When I complete this course I’ll go on with more study either in social services or nursing, then my ultimate job would be to help people from unsafe homes and from off the street. I’m keen to help them with their emotional and mental states and to give them skills to be self-empowering. In the meantime I work a weekend job and I’m a volunteer at the local fire brigade.”
I love this type of learning where there is plenty of opportunity for questions, time-out to discuss what presents...
“I was in the Black Sticks, struggling with anxiety to the point where I couldn’t train, and I couldn’t get the support I needed. It became clear to me it was time to leave the Black Sticks.”
“I then got the support I needed, came up here to make a new life, and am doing this course so I can provide support for others. Here we are directed to be an advocate for someone, rather than telling them what to do.”
“I love this type of learning where there is plenty of opportunity for questions, time-out to discuss what presents, and a family feel within our class. We are developing close and real friendships and I am a lot more open. Before I wouldn’t share anything.”
“Some of the legal aspects of the course are hard to learn but are so important and reassuring. I wasn’t aware how the Mental Acts work and was naive about patients’ rights.”
“I hope to do the Bachelor in Social Services after this and then may retrain for the Olympics. My main goal now is to be a voice for children who need support.”
“I would encourage anyone finishing school to do this course. A lot of kids are not on good paths, they don’t know what they want to do and they are vulnerable. This course helps us find out who we are, recognize what we want, and to grow as healthy people.”
Balancing the full-on energy of my baby at home and this study is a challenge but there is a lot of self-directed...
“When the nursing application form asked why I wanted to be a nurse, I realized that I didn’t. I had done level 4 foundation to get into study and prior to that was choosing between social services and art. A lot has been going on for me in recent years including some hard relationships, so that cemented the decision to get into social services and start with the mental health and addictions course.”
“I’m passionate about it. It feels like the right thing to do and the teacher and class are diverse and interesting. The whole point of the course is to help understand differences. This was in focus right in our first module, which was the Treaty of Waitangi. This involved some strong opinions made more pointed by delivery of oral presentations.”
“Balancing the full-on energy of my baby at home and this study is a challenge but there is a lot of self-directed study involved with flexibility of timing and fantastic tutor support.”
“When I finish, the course will either be a foundation for me doing the Bachelor of Social Services, or I can get work as a support worker. Long term I’d love to work with linking kids into foster homes or adoption.”
I'm developing even more of a deep passion for helping those people out there who are struggling with addiction and...
“Since studying in this area, I'm developing even more of a deep passion for helping those people out there who are struggling with addiction and mental illnesses. I know first-hand what it's like as I have been a sufferer in the past. For many years I battled alcoholism, addiction and multiple mental illnesses.”
“Now that I am sober, clean and healed of mental illness, this course is giving me a better understanding of what it may be like for others effected by addictions and mental illness. There is a massive need everywhere and I would thoroughly love to help.”
“This course is the beginning of my career journey. I am considering further study in the future and would ultimately love to open up my own Christian ministry drug and alcohol counselling service.”
“I enjoy studying at NorthTec Kaikohe because, although I live 35 kilometres away, I only have to come in to campus one day a week to participate in class learning. The rest of the study is done from home in my own time, making it very flexible and fitting with my family and other commitments.”
I want to help my kids strive by showing them that their parents can study and do well. I’d love to now move on into...
“I’m a recovering addict and alcoholic from six years ago, so it is fitting for me to help others by passing it forward. I’m from Auckland and I moved up here to start a fresh life. NorthTec and this course happened to be here and I’ve just finished level 4.”
“The quality of the teaching, the resources, the facilities, and the people in general here are what I enjoyed the most. We had access to all of our tutors until an evening time-limit, and their willingness to see us succeed was a really good push for me. We also spent time in our own self-started student group and had a private Facebook group.”
“This support added to my drive and motivation to push through the challenge of having to travel to Kerikeri once a week. And I had to knuckle down on planning to fit the study and the travel in with my family time.”
“Learning Te Reo was the biggest surprise for me about the course. I’m Samoan and speak fluent Samoan and I was hesitant at first to get involved with Te Reo, but I learnt to do my own mihi and I got a lot of satisfaction from learning about a language and culture similar to, but different from, ours.”
“I want to help my kids strive by showing them that their parents can study and do well. I’d love to now move on into Social Work and help others with addictions.”
I’ve learnt a lot here about how to work respectfully with others. I’m strong in who I am and I can assert my...
“I’m passionate about my people, te iwi Māori and Pasifika, and want to help them to identify and enhance their Mana and their potential for greatness. I have a lot of motivation to do this because I’m already working as a youth mentor for Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services.”
“Doing this degree will give me the tohu required to work within this industry. It will also show my children and whānau that it is possible to attend higher education.”
“I was blessed to be raised within Te Ao Māori which has put me in a good position, as this degree helps me to learn the western paradigm. It has reinforced the importance of understanding Te Ao Māori if you want to practise social work within Tai Tokerau.”
“I’ve learnt a lot here about how to work respectfully with others. I’m strong in who I am and I can assert my opinions, and I’m learning to respect diversity. With our classmates and tutors we’re constantly engaging and collaborating as peers, and I’m loving that.”
“This degree will open up opportunities for me and my whānau. I’ll be working in an area that I’m passionate about, and I hope to positively contribute to society for the betterment of my whānau and my people, te iwi Māori and Pasifika. I plan to go on and do further studies.”
I got my job at Ngati Hau by working there in my second year placement while still studying. The Girls Group is for...
“Doing my degree was the best decision I’ve ever made and now that I’m working in the field I’m even more driven to make a difference.”
“The stand-outs of the course were both the personal and the professional development from being on that journey. I grew so much as a person and I realised how important networking with colleagues is. It’s also much easier to learn when we apply the theory in our practicum work. When I started studying I wanted to do counselling but later I realized social work offered more scope for initiative, flexibility and creativity – which are my strengths.”
Maggie now works in social work in two roles. She runs the Girls Group for Ngati Hau Health and Social Services in collaboration with Te Ora Hou, and she has a contracted internship to provide cultural support for staff at Whangarei Youth Space. “I got my job at Ngati Hau by working there in my second year placement while still studying. The Girls Group is for girls aged 8-12 who at high risk due to their environmental factors. And I got the job at Youth Space through a Ngati Hau recommendation.”
“The NorthTec degree is directly relevant to my current work – especially as I’ve used the models, frameworks and tools to shape my practice. Looking at social change from community through to national and global levels is also really applicable for the Youth Space work. I use a strength-based approach, working holistically with a focus on whakawhanaungatanga - making meaningful relationships with both clients and colleagues.”
“Since I’ve been working, I’m a lot more confident in my ability, I’m more passionate and driven, and I know that I know my stuff. I want to continue to work with children and young people and I feel happy to have found work that I feel so passionate about.”
“It’s great to be helping strengthen community again. This is the future. I see my work as more about community...
“It’s great to be helping strengthen community again. This is the future. I see my work as more about community development than Social Services,” says Ligi Pakieto-Johnstone, recent Bachelor of Applied Social Services graduate from NorthTec. “Families are taking their power back now so there is not so much agency in their lives. In my new job as co-ordinator at Onerahi Resource Centre I can help enable this.”
After a four year learning journey, Ligi has returned to work amongst the community she grew up in. “Two years of my training was in the Community Development stream at Unitec in Auckland. This introduced me to different models of community and gave me a lens to look further than the individual. Then my Mum was seriously ill so I returned to the north to be near her. I did the next two years of my study up here at NorthTec with the focus on the individual and I finished at the end of 2013.”
During her study, Ligi was juggling her learning with working up to fourteen hours a day. “At some stage I was working seven hours of paid work at Te Puna a Te Aroha (Maori Women’s Refuge) and then seven hours at Te Ora Hou (an organization that works with youth at risk) as part of my practicum. I still wonder how I did it. I know it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my husband and my children. The journey has simply unfolded and I could never have been better prepared than by being on the path I have been on. This includes my Mum’s passing.”
“I was also in the first year of roll-out of the Enquiry Action Learning (EAL) delivery of the NorthTec Social Services degree programme. I’m a kinaesthetic learner so it was perfect for me. We did group-led projects with the lecturer becoming more of a facilitator, and together we chose pathways which worked best for different scenarios. We had to learn to be team players while dealing with the dynamics of personality. We became like family as we learnt together. In those two years, I also developed my networks so my fellow students have now become my colleagues.”
Ligi’s new job came up before she even finished her degree. “This position came up in my final few weeks of study. I applied and got it. I grew up in this community and my family has been part of it for over seventy years, so it offered a great chance to give back. I love the job.”
Ligi especially loves working with people from different walks of life. “There are priceless moments most days and we are all learning every day. The challenge is to avoid taking over or becoming the expert. The people we work with are the experts on their own lives. By us working collaboratively and consultatively, they hold the power in their own lives. They simply need to see some different modelling and get a bit of guidance. The community I work with is my boss and I like that.”
Ligi’s own family has been inspired by her learning. “I am the first woman in our whole whakapapa to study and succeed in tertiary education. My daughter has mimicked my modelling and will graduate as a teacher next year. The possibilities are wide open now to all our next generations.”
“I was born at the change of tide and at the time, my grandmother said to my mother that I therefore had the capacity to change our whakapapa. I feel I have made that change by showing the power of education and knowledge. I feel I’ll be in this job back home in my own community for quite a while and I still volunteer for a day a week at hospice where I utilize the time to take me closer to my Mum.”
Read more about NorthTec's Bachelor of Applied Social Service
“This certificate gave me an added skill for my profession and means I can nurse here specialising in mental health...
Since graduating Krizia has moved into work at Waikato District Health Board with an acute mental health service ward for older persons, and she’s also doing postgraduate mental health studies with Auckland University.
“Studying cognitive behavioural therapy at NorthTec has helped me a lot in terms of my work as a mental health nurse, and with my postgraduate studies. I am more therapeutic and empathetic as a result of this training, and able to establish a good rapport with my clients.”
Krizia was a qualified nurse in the Philippines but needed to study to get certified in New Zealand. “I was more into mental health in the Philippines so I decided on this six-month Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The certificate gave me an added skill for my profession and enabled me to nurse here, and specialise in mental health.”
“The NorthTec International Committee went that extra mile to help us with anything. Whangarei is peaceful, clean, and close to nature, and the students were really supportive.
“Thank you NorthTec!”
Soraya Te Iringa finished her Degree in Social Services and stepped straight into work that she loves. “I work with...