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“I’ve always been a bit nervous around Maori culture. I was brought up in a Maori family but we didn’t speak te reo and when I went back to our marae on the Kaipara, only the kuia and kaumatua spoke te reo.”
“When I did a mental health and addiction course, I realised a lot of Maori youth needed help and that if we could better understand our culture and te reo, it would really help. I’ve now started my own journey to do that so I can help myself and others.”
“My biggest break-through is realising that I’m quite spiritual and have a gift through my tipuna. I’m in place here for my tipuna and they’re in place for everything I do. Coming here is helping me learn how to understand and access that gift. I had a lot of anxiety at first that is was OK to be in a tertiary learning system and to step out as myself. But now with the help of the tutors and the supportive students here, I’m gaining confidence and learning how to be in the world with my gift.”
“The people and the environment here are really relaxing and very personal. It’s like a second home to me and I’m amazed at my own growth and confidence. Doing this course is enabling me to step up to my future career and be of service to Maori youth.
“From here I’m hoping to do a programme at the Wananga to also learn how to look after kuia and kaumatua. I’ll then have the skills in my kete to live out my dream of helping Maori – both young and old.”