I like that there is solid research behind everything we are taught but that it is really practically-focused.
Tama Walker - Ngati Porou
Graduate Diploma in Applied Science (Specialty)
Adult learner Tama Walker was already working in a field he loved prior to studying at Otago Polytechnic. As the Dunedin Cricket Development Officer for Otago Cricket Association, Tama was invited to a seminar held at Otago Polytechnic’s Institute of Sport and Adventure. At the seminar, Tama heard a presentation from the New Zealand Rugby Union’s head analyst and that was where the idea of studying Performance Analysis was born.
“I already knew I wanted to be involved in high performance sport. I thought about coaching but the coaching pathway is quite saturated. Performance analysis is something that I knew could complement my existing skills and add to what I do in my job day-to-day. The exciting thing is that these skills I am learning are transferable from youth through to high performance.
“I chose Otago Polytechnic for several reasons. I work right next door so it was definitely convenient, but it was also really flexible. I can do most of my programme work online which suited me since I work full-time.
“The thing I was most daunted about before starting was going back to study after a 15 year break. Handing in my first assignment felt like a big achievement and relief.
“I’m really enjoying learning more and challenging myself and I can already see the benefits and results in my work setting.
“In the future I see myself leading Performance Analysis within Otago Cricket Association. After that – who knows? I can think big from there.”
The best thing about a nursing career is there are no limits or restrictions to locations and settings.
Whitney Holmes - Ngati Kuri
Bachelor of Nursing
Growing up Whitney always admired her grandmother and aunt for their work as registered nurses, and wanted to follow in their footsteps. But, after finishing high school Whitney felt she needed to have a gap year. That one gap year turned into several years but she never stopped thinking about applying for a nursing degree.
“I kept putting it off and then, one day after the Christmas rush was over, I thought it’s now or never, so I handed in my application and never looked back.”
Of Ngati Kuri descent, Whitney says she’d looked at other Polytechnics but chose Otago Polytechnic because it offered cultural support.
“The reputation of Otago Polytechnic and the nursing school stood out and I had whanau support to help me with my studies.”
Whitney completed the Certificate of Heath before studying for the Bachelor of Nursing.
“The Certificate of Health provided me with a pathway back into studying and set the standards and expectations required for the Bachelor of Nursing. For me, the best parts of the degree programme were the academic staff working in partnership with the students in clinical placements to ensure we had the best learning experience possible, the state of the art technology in the simulation laboratories, and the friends I made along the way.”
After graduating, Whitney relocated to Brisbane where she accepted a position working in a large aged care Brisbane facility.
“The skills and knowledge gained within my Bachelor of Nursing programme enabled me to transition into working as a registered nurse in any area with confidence. I now work in a mental health where every day I learn and grow in my practice as a registered nurse.”
Photo credit: Mat Wiggins
I have the perfect work/life balance here.
Dayna Turnbull - Kai Tahu
Diploma in Applied Sport and Exercise Leadership (Level 5)
“I like to be in control,” says Dayna reflecting on her positions playing for the New Zealand Open Women’s Touch Blacks as a middle playmaker, and the New Zealand under 20 Women’s Basketball team as a point guard .
Dayna Turnbull is a Diploma in Applied Sport and Exercise Leadership Kai Tahu student at the Otago Institute of Sports and Adventure majoring in Sports Management and Coaching. She has represented New Zealand in both touch rugby and basketball.
Studying at The Otago Institute of Sports and Adventure has also allowed her to be in control. “My study here is practical and hands on. I used to study Physical Education at university but there was no interaction there. People didn’t know my name. Here I feel wanted.”
Due to her previous sports coaching, Dayna has been able to cross-credit this extensive experience to count towards half of her diploma. This has cut her workload down from 20 hours per week of study to around ten, allowing her to work part-time and keep up the elite training needed to represent New Zealand in touch, as well as coach the Otago Under 17 Women’s Touch team.
“I also feel very supported as a Māori student. The lecturers check that I have everything I need to succeed and always say hi to me as I pass them in the corridors. I get to live my normal life and achieve my dreams.”
The people made us feel really comfortable and the programme itself suited our learning styles and personality.
Neil Brew - Ngati Whare & Tuhoe, Kees Meeuws - Ngati Maru
Bachelor of Applied Management
Former Highlanders team mates and international rugby stars Kees Meeuws and Neil Brew were nearing the end of their rugby careers, and wanted to gain a qualification for life after rugby.
“I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it,” says Kees, “And I also wanted to show my kids that it’s never too late to go back and learn.”
Both Neil and Kees decided to undertake the Bachelor of Applied Management through Capable NZ and graduated at the end of 2015.
“It was great that the assessment structure at Capable NZ helped recognise a lot of my existing skills gained through my rugby career,” says Neil. “It validated my skills in contracts, managing people and goal-setting.”
The flexible study option provided by Capable NZ, also allowed Neil to hold down a job and study at home at night, while achieving a three-year degree in as little as seven months. Instead of having to sacrifice something important – be it family time, work or rugby – he was able to balance competing priorities.
Kees, on the other hand, found his study through Capable NZ helped join his multiple interests together into a tangible career. Prior to starting the Bachelor of Applied Management, Kees had just finished getting qualified as a builder but couldn’t see himself doing that job forever. Instead he wanted to move into a supervisory or management role.
“The Bachelor of Applied Management gave me something that said I had the skills to manage, myself, others and a business,” says Kees. “It gave me credibility outside of the rugby arena.”
Kees simultaneously obtained his Real Estate Agent qualification and is now in his third year working at Metro Realty. He hopes to combine these skills with both his management degree and building qualification by eventually moving into property development or project management.
Since graduating, Neil, too, is discovering new future aspirations. “I would really like to gain a postgraduate teaching qualification,” says Neil.
Both say the holistic approach of the Bachelor of Applied Management helped them succeed. “The structure, process and facilitators were all fantastic,” says Kees. “I don’t think I would be as productive as I am today without having done the programme.”
“I keep telling all the boys coming out of rugby to come and do this programme,” says Kees. “Aside from the career benefits it’s a wonderful journey of self-discovery and insight into what makes you tick as a person.”
All in all, it was a fantastic experience.
Dean Hu'akau - Ngati Kahungunu & Ngati Tuwharetoa, Rickie Kewene - Tainui, Ngati Haua & Ngati Maniapoto
Dean Hu’akau and Rickie Kewene are both full of praise for He Kākano, a student enterprise programme for Māori run out of the Otago Business School. “It has shown me that anything is possible,” says Rickie.
He Kākano runs every year in November/December. The competition is organised by Otago University and Otago Polytechnic, in collaboration with PowerHouse Ventures and Te Puni Kokiri.
Senior students of Māori descent attend a four week programme. They learn about various business concepts, such as how to generate, evaluate and develop a good business idea – and turn it into reality. The programme culminates in students pitching their own ideas to a ‘Taniwha Den’ of judges.
The theme in 2014 was Kaitiakitanga: guardianship, protection, preservation or sheltering. Groups had to develop a business idea around this concept. Dean’s group proposed a nationwide Māori business website. “At the moment all Māori business websites are regional,” he explains. Dean was the recipient of the Continuing Education Award.
Rickie’s group focused on the idea of summer Iwi jobs – liaising between Iwi and students to provide summer jobs that would meet the needs of Iwi. “Young Māori students currently do not have a relationship with their Iwi/Hapu,” he says.
The Marae visit was the highlight for them both Dean and Rickie. “Meeting the facilitators, fellow students, speakers and people on the Marae was the best part,” says Dean. “Everyone was so interesting, informative and positive.”