Not so long ago, Andrew Kirk was fresh out of high school with no idea what he wanted to do for a career. Now, he’s partway through a Bachelor of Māori Language and Indigenous Studies at Ara and his goal is to have his own tourism business.
He got started on this pathway via the free TOA Sports youth programme at Ara. “That helped me out heaps,” he says. He then progressed to degree-level study.
Andrew, who is of Ngāti Porou and Te Arawa descent, says he’s always been interested in tourism and sees his degree as a great way of getting into the industry. “It’s preparing me really well as I’m learning the Māori language while being immersed in the culture every day. I’m gaining a better understanding of the environment and how I can use all these things to help me in the future.”
The Bachelor of Māori Language and Indigenous Studies is designed to enable students to focus their studies on a specific area of interest such as business, health, sustainability, education or iwi development, while they’re becoming fluent in Te Reo. These elective pathways run alongside advanced courses in Te Reo and Tikanga Māori, and come together in the student’s third year in the form of a capstone research project.
Andrew has found the support he needs to be successful in his studies from staff at Learning Services and the library, and of course from his tutors. “They’re awesome. They’re easy-going and they completely understand each student that walks through the door. I love being immersed in the culture and I enjoy the whole atmosphere here.”
After graduating, Andrew hopes to work for Ngāi Tahu to get tourism skills that will help him establish and run his own business.