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Kia ora! Nau mai haere mai ki Te Whare Wānanga o te Ūpoko o te Ika a Māui.
Phew, you made it. Whatever made up your unique journey to get here, there would have been major challenges along the way and for that you deserve to be congratulated.
You are now joining a small and very privileged group of New Zealanders who have had the opportunity to study at university.
If you, like I did, came from a community where you and most of your friends had the choice of tertiary study, then take a moment to appreciate the additional barriers that many of your new fellow students faced in getting here.
Take a moment to consider those who are not here: the missing 1000 Māori students who would make up the numbers so they weren’t under-represented in the tertiary sector, those who live in the regions where leaving family and traveling is not an option, those who have grown up poor and could never quite get on their feet; the ones you’ll probably never meet on campus.
Being a student is hard. It is also an utterly transformative and rewarding experience. Be bold and grasp opportunities — you’ll have more of these on offer than you could possibly imagine. Also be ready to grit your teeth when the times get tough, and — I’m going say it because you won’t hear it from many others — don’t be afraid to leave if you find university isn’t right for you.
But for now, enjoy yourselves. Our team has been busy putting together an A+ O-Week line up with shows most nights this week. Keep an eye out for the Newtown Festival where we will have a student stage this Sunday and buses to take you there and back.
Also remember, you’ve just become part of a community in Wellington that extends well beyond the three campuses. This city wants to get to know you, so be a friendly bugger.
P.S. I’m your student president. Pick up Salient to see what I have to say here each week alongside other student executive members. But we want this to be a two-way conversation so please get in touch. Also make sure you join your student association in the Hub courtyard this week or at vuwsa.org.nz. Talk soon! Ngā mihi nui.