Discovering her Taha Māori.
April Heath - Ngāi Tahu/Kai Tahu
Get to know April Heath,

What’s been your biggest highlight at UC so far?

I did an Arts Internship through Ngāi Tahu which led onto a scholarship with Aoraki Bound. It's an outdoors course where you follow the footsteps of your ancestors, using that time to learn about Powhiri protocols, tikanga and local history. We were based there for 10 days then we journey from Anakiwa to Aoraki visiting Marae along the way, tramping and doing other outdoor activities. It's a self-discovery of your Taha Māori, your Māori side.

How else have you been involved in Māori culture and language?

Biculturalism is a big part of my degree. UC supports it 100%. I've done a couple of Te Reo papers and want to do more. Going on the Aoraki Bound course really awakened the importance of my Māori identity. It’s something I’ve become really passionate about and want to continue to develop.

How have you made friends and connections?

We started with a camp, so we basically all became family in 48 hours. Your classmates journey with you. We have a common room where we spend a lot of time discussing topics and opinions. The Education degree is really strong on critical thinking, which helps in terms of personal and academic development.

"The biggest thing for me has been learning to think outside of myself."

How is UC preparing you for a job?

With teaching we go on placement every year. That's the real deal. The assignments are very practical, so when I go on placement I’m practising the skills that I’ll be using when I'm in the job. It also gives you an opportunity to network. Every placement is a job interview.

How have you changed most at UC?

The biggest thing for me has been learning to think outside of myself. Rather than asking ‘how is this going to affect me?’ I'm asking ‘how is this going to affect society?’ and ‘how is this going to affect our environment?’

Any advice for newbies?

My theme coming into uni was ‘He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka’ which means 'The choppy waters can be navigated’. It's about having confidence that you’ll be able to cope through the stressful times. It’s important to think wider and keep the big picture in mind.

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