Members of the Recruitment Roadshow team in front of Manawatū College, from left: Jessica-Maraea Mako-Andersen, Aurora Akauola, Kemp Reweti, Luther Davis, Tawhai Hokianga Wikaire, Atlanta Stewart, Jayden Ratana-Hartley, Adrian Joseph Whareaitu, Kumeroa Papuni-Tuhaka, Reihana Adlam and Te Ngauora Kerehoma-Hoerara.

Massey Māori students inspire school pupils with their stories


Members of the team with pupils in the Manawatū College hall.

Māori student recruitment adviser Kemp Reweti has created a new programme called The Recruitment Roadshow – Our Stories to raise the profile of Massey University Māori students and inspire school pupils to consider university study.

Co-constructed with Manawatahi, the University's Māori students' association, the initiative gives 10 students a platform to share their stories with Māori secondary school pupils in the Manawatū-Horowhenua region.

“Massey's strength lies in the incredible stories of its students and the overwhelming challenges and difficulties they have overcome and are overcoming," Mr Reweti says. "I wanted to make sure that our Māori students diverse stories could be carried off campus and delivered directly to the audiences that need to hear them.”

“Most of the group had never had the chance to share their schooling backgrounds, the reasons why they were at Massey and what had led them into tertiary study. I wanted to make sure the high schoolers could see the diversity of backgrounds that Māori students have here, the diversity of their study pathways and the passion and goals our Māori students have fostered."

Manawatahi president Aurora Akauola praised the initiative. “It was heartening to meet with senior Māori students and share with them my journey about how it was for me at school and what influences helped me get into university, as well as what my goals are for the future.”

The recruitment roadshow visits three schools this year, with an aim to engage with six schools next year. After two school visits, the feedback from the initiative has been extremely positive, Mr Reweti says.

Feilding High School Maori Department head Whaea Lee Martin said: “Our students were particularly impressed with the stories from the tauira and the fact that they could relate to them.

Luther Davis, formerly of Patea Area School and now studying for a Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts, jumped at the chance to be part of the roadshow. “Life in Patea is tough," she said. "There's huge challenges. My message to these students was to follow their passion, and never give up. I wanted them to know that their influence will hugely affect their whānau so to make sure it's a positive one."

The roadshow also saw Reihana Adlam, former head boy of Manawatu College in Foxton, return to his school and share his experiences and insights. “I’m passionate about finance and economics and I wanted to inspire students at my old school to show them that the posibilities for them within tertiary are limitless."

The roadshow has one final school to visit this year, Horowhenua College in Levin. Mr Reweti will then collate the feedback and look at ways to improve the programme for next year.

"Coordinating our students can be a challenge, as they are extremely busy, but seeing the real connections occur between them and the high school students makes it all worth it," he says.

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