Gabriel Baron

Gabriel Baron

Master of Arts in Māori Development
Bachelor of Māori Development in Māori Media

Te Atihaunui-ā-pāpārangi

The people are what she has enjoyed the most about her studies at AUT, says Gabriel Baron who graduated with a Master of Arts in Māori Development this August.

“Everyone I met at AUT has been so cool and welcoming. Māori are strongly acknowledged and represented throughout the University, and the staff at Te Ara Poutama are so supportive. They are the epitome of ‘do the mahi, get the treats’. If you’re committed to working hard and achieving your fullest potential then they will back you up 100%.”

Gabriel herself has certainly felt fully supported throughout her time at AUT and can list a number of achievements she is particularly proud of.

“The rewards are endless. For example, I was lucky enough to represent Te Ara Poutama and AUT at Kura Tuarua Kapa Haka Nationals 2016. One of my dream goals is to represent AUT at an international level of any kind. I was also awarded the Peter Harwood Scholarship in my second year at AUT.”

Choosing AUT
Initially coming to AUT to study a Bachelor of Māori Development in Māori Media, Gabriel says she was drawn to the degree because of its strong focus on technology.

“Technology has influenced so many of the younger generations, including my own. It has become an ever-evolving feature of my daily life, so I felt eager to be ahead of the game and learn more about technology, specifically in the media world.”

Deciding to study at AUT was easy, says Gabriel who is planning to work full-time in Māori development, and return home to Whanganui and share her learnings with her community.

“I researched many degrees and universities, and AUT’s Māori media degree stood out above others because I’m more confident with Māori culture, and media was exactly what I wanted to study.”

Community connections
When she finished her Bachelor of Māori Development at the end of 2017, Gabriel realised that she had become passionate about teaching te reo Māori and decided to enrol in a Master of Arts in Māori Development.

“I continued into postgraduate study to research my hometown of Whanganui and everything that makes us us. My master’s thesis is titled ‘He pukenga wai he nohoanga tāngata, he nohoanga tāngata he putanga kōrero’, reflecting the words of my Koro Morvin Te Anatipa Simon who was the iwi chief. He treated all of Whanganui as his own and formed a strong social connection between all tribes of the Whanganui river. He inspired many to achieve great things and, like him, I hoped my research would do just that.

“My research findings conclude that knowledge is within a place. Therefore, Whanganui knowledge must remain in Whanganui. In my thesis I highlighted our diaspora and their stand within the existing community, and how the Whanganui diaspora is still affecting the community currently living in Whanganui and the future of Whanganui. The findings, like Koro Morv’s strong passion for community, ultimately explain how everything and everyone is linked.”

Gabriel’s master’s thesis was supervised by Dr Elisa Duder from Te Ara Poutama, AUT’s Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Development.

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