2nd-year student, Bachelor of Science in Applied Conservation and Geospatial Science
Working with the environment has always been her goal, says Hinengarangi Makoare who is currently completing a Bachelor of Science in Applied Conservation and Geospatial Science.
“Coming from strong Niuean and Māori backgrounds, I grew up with an understanding of the environment and its importance, value and sacredness. In high school I began to understand the importance of people, connection and your whakapapa; where you come from. It was then that I decided I wanted a job that incorporated this with work in the environment.
“I decided to study at AUT because the environmental sciences papers aligned with the path I wanted to take towards my career choice. My dream is to work alongside my people to further protect and preserve our land, sea, resources and traditions. I would love to work either here in Aotearoa or in the Pacific.”
Crafting your own path
The many papers offered in the Bachelor of Science make it easy to craft the path towards your dream career, Hinengarangi says.
“Even if you aren't quite sure where exactly it is that you want to go, there are so many options and pathways available to get you started. You have the freedom and independence to study the same thing as everyone else, but then take your studies in a direction of your own.
“I believe a good teacher provides the information and resources but allows you to think critically and decide where to build from there. The staff that I’ve encountered at AUT do just that, encouraging you to step outside your comfort zone and develop new ideas.”
One of the papers Hinengarangi particularly enjoyed was the geoscience paper Geology, Landscape and Environment, taught by Professor Michael Petterson.
“What I enjoyed most was that this paper made you forget you're in a classroom. The assessments didn’t feel like work to meet a deadline but were more about deepening your understanding of the world, which is what education should feel like.”
Advice for other students
Don't turn down an opportunity just because no one in your tribe is heading that way, Hinengarangi says.
“Embrace that unique thinking you have and use it to uplift yourself, your whānau, your community and the world. It may be a pathway that needs a specific skill set, passion and way of thinking. It may be a pathway that only needs you.”
She appreciates the continued support and safe learning environment AUT offers.
“The support I received at my first meeting with a course counsellor before I had enrolled at AUT is the same support I’ve received throughout my years at AUT. The staff are understanding and go above and beyond, whether it's a lecturer, Student Hub advisor or course counsellor.”