By studying Te Reo and indigenous studies, Jodi Apiata isn't just learning his language and exploring his identity. He's also accumulating skills and knowledge that he intends to use to help develop systems that can help people, especially youth.
Before enrolling in the Bachelor of Māori Language and Indigenous Studies at Ara, Jodi worked as a team leader of an adventure therapy programme run by the Waipuna Community Service Centre. The specialist youth agency provides young people and their whanau (families) with support and opportunities for growth.
"This course is answering a number of questions for me regarding what could be or needs to be developed so young people can be supported in the future," he says.
Jodi is enjoying studying at Te Puna Wanaka at Ara. He likes the environment and the teaching style of the tutors (kaiako).
"The teaching style is empowering. The kaiako are energised by the success of their students which motivates us to achieve as best we can. They make the content 'live' and they encourage a collaborative approach, so everyone works together. The thing that stands out the most is the way they encourage us to explore our potential."
In exploring his own potential, Jodi is investigating ideas he's had for a number of years. He wants to see how effective various organisations are at connecting with whanau, and what kind of support they offer, especially if they're iwi-based. His aim is to help organisations work in a more collaborative, mana-enhancing way for Māori in their care.
"Having access to leaders in different fields, and being able to discuss and analyse my ideas, it's helping me to consolidate them to a point that I can see them becoming reality."