Not too bad for a Titahi Bay girl
Chelsea an inspiration
Chelsea Grootveld has achieved much in her 36 years and this week she will reach another milestone.
The former Mana College head girl will graduate from Victoria University with a PhD in education. It’s the culmination of a four-year thesis that involved a study of the effect higher education has on Maori.
It will be a proud moment for the girl from Titahi Bay.
‘‘My family will be there, so it will be a big night for me.’’
Although Ms Grootveld lives in Kapiti, Porirua will always be home. She attended Titahi Bay School and Titahi Bay Intermediate and her family home and whanau are still in the Bay.
She said Porirua had changed plenty from her childhood days.
‘‘The city has gentrified a lot,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s totally different now. But it will always have that heart – it’s vibrant and alive. I love Porirua and what it’s done for me.’’
Education had changed as well, she said, and though school suited her, there needed to be more to help those who didn’t fit into the traditional structure.
‘‘ There’s a one- size- fits- all approach I don’t like. But other things are improving – I used to be a bit scathing about trades, but now there does seem more availability for students who are interested in that.
‘‘I’d like to see us focusing outside the box a bit more, encouraging entrepreneurs and other nontraditional skills.’’
The former Capital Shakers netball player, who is married and has two children, has plenty of bold plans for her future.
They include studying languages and maybe securing a job with the United Nations.
For now, her work to get her doctorate has also led to a contract with the Ministry of Education, where she researches special education.
Ms Grootveld also trained daily for the Iron Maori triathlon, which was held in Napier last weekend.
‘‘I’m the first from my family to go to university. It was a foreign concept at home.
‘‘Dad was a labourer and Mum was at home and helped out a bit with the local kohanga reo.
‘‘My parents have seen what higher education has done for me and I guess the message is work hard, set goals and remember that you can be anything you want to be.’’
Achiever: Chelsea Grootveld says there are positive stories happening every day in Porirua, and hopes her achievements show that anything is possible.