When she received a prestigious Kupe Scholarship two years ago, Lanne Wade-Jensen said the major benefit – aside from the financial help – would be the mentoring and support with employment it provided.
“That’s huge for us as a whānau in terms of future security,” the single mother of two said at the time. And that security is now in place, with Lanne working at Whangamarino Primary near Okere Falls after graduating with a Bachelor of Education (Primary) from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
Lanne spoke at graduation in Waiāriki recently and says the unique learning environment provided by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa made it a better option than other tertiary providers to complete her degree. “I get to be myself because of the space Te Wānanga o Aotearoa allowed me. They allowed me to be me in wairua and as a Māori woman. They allowed us to be Māori.”
She says it wasn’t just the teaching staff who made the learning experience so enjoyable.“All the kaimahi were amazing. Nowhere else has got that manaaki, that whanaungatanga than at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. It provides a learning environment that everyone can benefit from,” she says.
“It’s not just for Māori it’s for everyone who wants to learn within a Māori kaupapa, with tikanga Māori and who want to feel the ihi and be a part of that. It allows us to be who we are, it allows us our space.”
It also allowed time to build relationships – a key for any educator – and Lanne says because of the work of their kaiako, graduates were ready to hit the ground running.
“We know the most important impact we can make on our
tamariki is to build relationships and you have set the path for us to go out and change the lives of
graduates we are now empowered and resilient and ready to take on the world and disrupt the norm for other Māori.” She says it was also important to acknowledge whānau who have stood beside the graduates over the time of their study. “Without their support, the struggle is much harder.”
On a more fundamental level, Lanne says there are other benefits from getting a job after three years of study. “It really is good feeling, that first paycheck and shedding the cloak of struggle for not only myself, but my whanau too.”