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Student member of university council successfully re-elected


Ngahuia Kirton standing alongside Chancellor Michael Ahie and Pro Chancellor Ben Vanderkolk at the Manawatū graduation processsion in November.



Ngahuia Kirton with patient Marmite.

Third-year veterinary science student Ngahuia Kirton has been re-elected as the student member of the Massey University Council.

Ms Kirton was the highest polling of the three candidates who stood in the student election; the other candidates were Dallin Niuelua and Tessa Guest.

Chancellor Michael Ahie thanked all the candidates for putting themselves forward and also the 1013 students who voted. All students who are enrolled at the time of the election are eligible to vote and the student member is elected for a two-year term.

Ms Kirton says it’s an honour and a privilege to represent students at the university’s decision-making table.

“It’s vital to recognise the different experiences that students have due to their degree, background and other factors. Studying isn’t a walk in the park – students take time away from family, work and life to learn and grow.”

She says a big focus for her and students is the ongoing impact and decisions around COVID-19.

“I was quite impressed at the way we could act so quickly and in the best interest of our students as opposed to in the best interest of the business and holding that ethos of students as stakeholders. Having a student voice at the centre of everything we do, I think is going to be so crucial to making sure we bring everyone with us on the next three-year journey as everything changes with COVID-19, it’s really important.

“The COVID-19 crisis has proven Massey is capable of delivering well-developed, accessible online learning – it is essential we keep this momentum going and continue removing barriers to education, especially for those studying extramurally or with different support needs.”

The 21-year-old was born in England but moved to New Zealand when she was young. She attended Cambridge High School in Waikato before moving to Palmerston North to begin a Bachelor of Veterinary Science.

She says being on the council and learning from the members who are all experienced leaders in their fields, including Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas, is a valuable experience.

“Everyone on the council is really great, they’re all so helpful and willing to help me to learn and grow in the governance space which I’ve been really interested in for a long time. It is amazing to have these really special people supporting me.”