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September 12, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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Ngāi Tauira – That Maori Kid Who Went to Uni

Coming from a small town that most of the country has no idea exists (other than the times it appears in the media) and moving into a city to attend tertiary is exciting and another experience all togethe


A town that is predominantly Maori and is low on the employment scale has little to offer when you are nearing adulthood. Sure it was nice growing up there as a kid, but over time things change and you grow up in need of something more. When high school is nearing its end and the only thing to look forward to is the benefit or New World among other little establishments, Tertiary Education can seem like a far-off destination. Taking that first step can be the biggest and most defining step in ones life.

Many Maori kids will say that tertiary is a far off dream or that they are too dumb to study, read or write. A lot will look to sports, something this country is really proud of, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Some families will push their child to go into the armed forces where you won’t need a student loan and your life is already set for you, and again there is nothing wrong with that. But what happens to the others, the ones that are not in a sport, and don’t want to go to the armed forces? The reality is that they either move to Australia in hopes of a job, get pregnant and live on the benefit or still live with mum and dad. There is so much potential out there in little Maori communities, they may not see it because of the way life is around them, but the truth is, if others from those towns can get out and make something of their life then why not you?

Sure, tertiary can be hard sometimes, but so is life in general. There are the good times too. Tertiary study is never beyond anyone, everyone can do it if they put their mind to it, and put in the hours and determination to see it through. It doesn’t matter if you are Maori or not, if you come from a small town or a city, tertiary is there for the taking.

So as the story goes, once away from the town you see the world and what it has to offer. Some things will be missed, some not so much, but it is all about a leap of faith, to take charge and walk forward. If you want to make history then you must change history. Change is a word and action that many people are not comfortable with, they fear the difference and what might happen if they take that leap. Will I fail or will I pass? The thing is you will never know if you never try. Sure there may be some real harsh times that test you physically and mentally, but you learn to over-come them and draw strength. Maori were a proud race and still remain to be, some people may have forgotten that, but this Maori kid who went to tertiary holds a dream and the destination.

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this