Health, Physical Education and Te Reo Māori Teacher, Lynfield College
Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching
Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in Health and Physical Education
What he loves most about teaching is that he can contribute to the local rōpū and iwi, says Arana Rakena who completed a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in Health and Physical Education, followed by a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching.
“I’m currently working at Lynfield College as a health, physical education and te reo Māori teacher.
“Giving back has always been important in my life, and I think that through my love of te taiao, hākinakina and hauora, I can offer young tauira something that may not have been previously available in their lives. Whether it’s a hobby, an outlook or a career path, I want my students to have as many options as possible when they venture out into the real world.”
Finding his path
Arana first discovered his passion for teaching when he was enrolled in his Bachelor of Sport and Recreation and soon realised that teaching would be his future career.
“I had the privilege of doing a coaching placement at AFL New Zealand, and found that I had a passion for teaching kids through the medium of sports. When working with these kids, I taught them elementary motor skills like catching and passing but I soon realised I was really contributing to something more. I quickly learned the value of a teacher and the impact you can have on the lives of those you teach, inspiring me to pursue a career as a kaiako.
“I finished my undergrad studies in the middle of the year, and AUT was the only university to offer the Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching mid-year. That was appealing as it meant that I could complete my studies quicker than if I studied elsewhere.”
He says he wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching to other students interested in becoming a teacher.
“AUT has a high calibre of lecturers within the School of Education. I found the lecturers to be knowledgeable, empathetic, provocative and helpful. I also found AUT to be adaptive and successful despite the curve balls from the COVID-19 pandemic. One lecturer I felt had some genuine impact on me was Dr Stuart Deerness. He always gave us honest answers about the teaching profession and I felt like I knew exactly what kind of job I was getting into.”
He had plenty of highlights throughout his four years at university, Arana says.
“The biggest highlight for me were the friendships and connections I made throughout my time at AUT. The courses encouraged us to step out of our comfort zones and engage with everyone. I also enjoyed the marae visit as part of the Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching, where our whole cohort went and had several workshops on te ao Māori and its application to a broad range of teaching subjects.”
His advice for other students is simple: make the most of your time at university.
“Get involved with as much stuff as you possibly can at university; whether it’s sports, study groups or hui. There are so many opportunities to upskill yourself, and many of the people you meet at these things will be your future colleagues too.”