HU­MANS OF KAITAIA De­cide how much you want change

The Northland Age - - Local News - By Mor­gana Thomas

I’ve been sur­rounded by kids all my life. I love kids.

I came from a big fam­ily grow­ing up, and was raised by a solo mum on the DPB, who was sep­a­rated from my dad. When my older si­b­lings moved out, that left six of us at home. I helped my mum bring up my lit­tle brothers, then helped look af­ter my si­b­lings’ kids.

My work at that time was in ra­dio and tele­vi­sion, but knew I needed more than that. I helped at Pukemiro and at ko¯hanga reo, and found out I had a nat­u­ral abil­ity to grow chil­dren and send them in the right di­rec­tion. I had five chil­dren, was work­ing, study­ing Ma¯ori per­form­ing arts and I didn’t want to move towns — but I wanted to study teach­ing. Then the Ma¯ori Medium Scholarshi­p be­came avail­able through TeachNZ and Te Whare Wa¯nanga o Awanuia¯rangi opened a cam­pus in Whangarei. It was a tohu, a sign, I was go­ing in the right di­rec­tion. So I fin­ished the three-year teach­ing de­gree, while jug­gling all my other roles.

When I was at school my teacher, Mr Tini, said to me, “You should be a teacher.” I told him I didn’t want to teach some­one like me! Dur­ing that time I was in the dean’s of­fice for all the wrong rea­sons. My best friend can’t be­lieve I’m a dean now.

My big­gest achieve­ment is see­ing tamariki with no di­rec­tion see that they can do some­thing bet­ter. I love lis­ten­ing to the kids prac­tise in the whare. It makes it all worth it.

My mum told me I could have more, she taught me my life les­sons. She saw there was some­thing to make me push fur­ther. I was de­ter­mined, I didn’t want to have the same life that my fam­ily had. I wanted more. It doesn’t mat­ter what your back­ground is or where you’re from, it’s about how hard you want it.

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