Gain an education for the 21st Century

Enter a world of lifelong learning, meet the challenges of the 21st century and gain skills for life through the exploration of people, communities and cultures with Massey's unique courses in arts, teaching and learning, and professional education.


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Meet some of our alumni using their skills to inspire young learners and people in need, to prove that learning really is a lifelong activity, and to show how understanding where we've come from can make a huge impact on where we're going. Their stories demonstrate what it means to have an education for the 21st century.

  • Lucy-Margaux Marinkovich

    "Studying a BA is all about pushing yourself and your ability to think critically."

    Combining gothic and Victorian literature with dance to explore gender stereotyping is just one of the ways choreographer and dancer Lucy-Margaux Marinkovich is using her Bachelor of Arts (English) from Massey University to better understand her world.

    A graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance, Lucy has worked for Footnote Dance Company, Weta Workshop, Toi Whakaari, New Zealand School of Dance and on projects in New Zealand and across the globe. Despite the excitement and jet-setting, Lucy decided to embark on a different kind of journey and enrol in a BA at Massey University.

    "Studying a BA is all about pushing yourself and your ability to think critically. It trains you to question everything you read, see, and observe and to confront yourself about how you perceive the world around you. It’s a lifelong skill and it’s something that has had a huge impact on my artistic and choreographic work," she says.

    With her own business - dance collective Borderline Arts Ensemble - Lucy has a busy and bright future ahead. And she is equipped with a degree that can carry her through no matter where she goes.

  • Chrissie Topia

    "It’s my passion to reach out, educate, and provide a voice for others, especially mature Māori women, about the mana—the transformation—they can get by striving to obtain a qualification."

    From helping individuals find their way after being in prison, to advocating for Māori women to gain an education, and instilling confidence in people on a benefit to find work, Chrissie Topia spends her life giving others their wings to fly.

    Despite her openness to helping others Chrissie’s pathway to success hasn’t always been easy. Faced with unexpected pregnancies, health scares, divorce, and the loss of her mum Chrissie worked her way through a teaching degree and a Master of Organisational Psychology. Now as a teacher for children with special needs, as well as a life coach establishing her own business, Chrissie is on a personal crusade to educate others on the importance of upskilling, and that it's never too late to learn.

    "It’s my passion to reach out, educate, and provide a voice for others, especially mature Māori women, about the mana—the transformation—they can get by striving to obtain a qualification. Whether it is at tertiary level or a basic course at certificate level, it's the beginning of a new lease in life and one that I encourage everyone to take," she says.

    Chrissie’s mantra centres on self-belief and giving others the confidence to walk with their heads held high, regardless of their circumstances.

    "To me it’s all about having the belief in yourself that you can do and achieve anything you put your mind to."

  • Keshwan Padayachi

    "I believe that as long as we remain focused and determined to achieve what we set out to achieve, then age is no barrier to learning."

    At 72 years old, Keshwan Padayachi embodies lifelong learning to its truest extent. He has spent his life teaching, learning and inspiring others, and has no plans to slow down any time soon.

    "Learning is a lifelong process and it is my hope that I can set a trend for others to emulate. I believe that as long as we remain focused and determined to achieve what we set out to achieve, then age is no barrier to learning," he says.

    With a master's degree in educational administration from Massey University, as well as a Bachelor of Laws under his belt, at 66 Keshwan gained a Professional Diploma in Legal Practice. Throughout his career Keshwan held many roles including principal of a secondary school and Divisional Education Officer Northern for the Fijian Ministry of Education.

    After retiring Keshwan continued teaching and learning and tutored at the University of the South Pacific.

    "I think we have the capacity to learn throughout our life. These days learning for me now is more of pleasure and enjoyment so as to be more active mentally."

  • Jason Gurney

    "Having an education for the 21st century also means knowing how to collaborate, communicate, adapt, think quickly on one’s feet and ideally being fluent in a second language."

    Having an education for the 21st century is about much more than just numeracy and literacy, experienced teacher Jason Gurney says.

    It is about being open minded, resilient and being able to converse with, and understand, people from all backgrounds, cultures and religions.

    Educated in the 20th century, Jason is drawing on the skills and knowledge he learnt at Massey University to teach young 21st century citizens.

    In 1999, Jason completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in education, a commitment of 11 years part-time distance learning.

    "Having an education for the 21st century also means knowing how to collaborate, communicate, adapt, think quickly on one’s feet and ideally be fluent in a second language."

    As Assistant Principal Years 7 to 10 at Kristin School in Auckland, Jason continues to draw on the knowledge of middle-school-aged children he gained from a Massey masters-level education paper. It has also helped him write a free teaching resource, Getting the Best Out of Middle School Students.

An education for the 21st century -

What does it mean?

  • Michaelo Dally


    It's an education that encourages us to never stop thinking, never stop asking questions and never quite accept any answer as being fully definitive. It means giving our best so that others can achieve their best. And it means having a degree that is more than just a couple of letters at the end of your name, but a tool that can take you wherever you want to go.
  • Brynn Neilson

    CEO of Spinning Planet

    It is not about learning tasks to be successful in a career that may be obsolete in 5 years; it's about sharing ideas, understanding multiple perspectives and building relationships with people. Its about knowing how to learn from everything – the online world, community and business leaders, research, workshops and even Facebook – to be able to analyse and make sense of the plethora of information we face everyday.
  • Ralph Springett

    Education Technology Manager

    It means having the transferrable skills such as digital and communication competency and the ability to work across distance, time and cultures. It's about thinking of learning as an anywhere, anytime journey that prepares you to get the most out of the growing abundance of information and channels available to us.
  • Faye Davenport

    Registered Nurse

    It's about embodying lifelong learning and having a variety of career opportunities available.
  • Dr Gillian White


    It means having self-reliance and flexibility, an ability to think critically and having flexibility, be prepared for change, value for the humanities in order to create connectedness and engagement with others and being able to see technology as an aid not as a deity.
  • Ian Jost

    It's about opening your mind to a whole new world of cultural awareness. It's about being exposed to new things and uncovering the pleasures of life that were once only dimly appreciated. It's an awakening that makes you realise the nature of the big, unknown world out there.
  • HaoLun XU

    International Student

    It means gaining an education where you become enlightened, establish self-esteem, pursue ambitions and simultaneously learn self-discipline without encountering any restrictions on the differences between social classes, genders, races and even nationalities. It's about the advancement of human civilisation and offering equal opportunities for everyone to fulfil their individual contribution to society.
  • Angela Gattung

    Education Programme Leader at Kootuitui ki Papakura Trust

    It means continuously developing fluencies in such areas as problem solving, creativity, analysis, collaboration, communication and responsibility. As society is more complex and connected through technologies that are developing at an increasing rate, the 21st century learner needs these fluencies to develop the independence to keep learning in a world of rapid globalisation and digitisation.
  • Deborah Rasmussen

    Assessor Advisor for the New Zealand Red Cross

    Education for the 21st century means having an education for the future and for the rest of your life. It is something to keep and something to share. For those without a home or a country it is a mobile asset and I have seen this time and time again. My education has helped me to help humanity.
  • Brenda Johnston


    It's about fostering skills like critical thinking, which can be used in any occupation rather than training for a specific career.
  • Senia Samuelu Eastmure

    Teacher at Palmerston North Boys High School

    It's about an ongoing learning curve with limitless opportunities. You just have to look at technology - how it has developed, is continuing to develop and it's advantages given to our society & future learners – to see what that involves.
  • Andrew Salisbury

    Behaviour specialist with the Ministry of Education

    The social forces that are driving our society are not time bound, but are driven by globalisation, shifting gender roles, and shifting balances between individual pursuit and communal duty. Education offers people the opportunity to think more widely about their role in a society. It gives us opportunities and choices because it allows a person to have greater control over their worldview, and therefore over their experience of the world.
  • Hone Morris

    Lecturer at Massey University

    It's about reconnecting with Māori knowledge to stand tall and confident as a Māori for the future. To gain pertinent knowledge to be able to assist in advancing my whānau, hapū and marae in the modern world of post settlements.
  • Bridget Comer

    Teacher at North Street School

    It's about fostering educated citizens who are able to think critically, make sound judgments and contribute to a just and pluralistic society.
  • Brian Winter

    Secondary Teacher

    It's about developing independence and inquiry and using those skills in the real world. A 21st century education is about having the skills to analyse and think critically to debate issues and solve problems, and to adapt to the changing world around us.
  • Chris Theobald

    Principal at Holy Family School

    It's about seeing learners as members of society at any age. It's about having the scope to reimagine what is taught and hopefully learnt at what age and in what order - starting off with a clean sheet of paper and learning not according to chronological age and subjects, but to our ability to contribute to society and to know ones own whakapapa and history.
  • Jacqui Burne

    EdD Doctoral Candidate

    It means not only knowing what to learn, but how to learn. It means being motivated enough to seek answers to questions that often develop as we find out more; being willing to constantly learn something new, particularly in the area of technology; and being empathetic and humble enough to know that education is a privilege and a life long journey.
  • Taruni Falconer

    Speaker and Executive Coach

    It means having an education that feeds the hunger for an interdisciplinary approach, which is needed by employers and for innovation. It includes play that allows the brain to move from closed mode, into an open creative mode. It means developing transferable skills across a range of platforms that can then be applied into any workplace.
  • Phil Lascelles

    Senior Director, Customer Support Services, Oracle New Zealand

    It means being able to prepare, lead and implement change in a world where change is revolutionary. It means having a deeper understanding of how to make sense of the new situations, new information and solutions that we face everyday. That understanding is not just in the technology, but in business, people, and communication too. It means being able to utilise our diverse capability, insight and background to solve problems in different ways. Lastly, it means learning beyond our working lives and into whatever chapter we may find ourselves in next.
  • Felicity Tyler

    Teacher Aide

    It means being able to understand where your place in society is and having the opportunity to make a difference.
  • Julie Bytheway

    Learning in educational settings needs to be accessible to people of different ages and stages, with different backgrounds and cultures, with different strengths and weaknesses, with different lives. Education needs to extend beyond the restrictions of set competencies and classroom walls, and value the diverse learning experiences that are available in the real and digital worlds that surround us all.
  • Judy Lawrence


    Due to the future nature of work, where technology is developing exponentially, I suggest that rather than focusing on future jobs, we look at future work skills, proficiencies and abilities required across different jobs and work settings.
  • Susan Warren

    Chief Executive at COMET

    The world is changing – from technology to globalisation to superdiversity and this is impacting on the skills needed for success in work and life. Young people need different skills from those their parents and grandparents needed – including transferrable skills like problem-solving, teamwork and resilience, as well as specifics like digital literacy, inter-cultural competence, scientific literacy and multilingualism. It also means that learning can't stop at age 18 or even 25 – we all need to continually update our skills to meet changing demands.

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