Holly Rikirangi

Holly Rikirangi

3rd-year student, Bachelor of Arts in New Zealand Sign Language - English Interpreting

Ngāti Ranginui

Being around people with the same passions and goals has been the highlight of her studies, says Holly Rikirangi who is in the final year of her Bachelor of Arts in New Zealand Sign Language – English Interpreting.

“The ability to find support from classmates and lecturers through the degree makes learning the language and interpreting skills so enjoyable. I’m being taught by Deaf lecturers, and have enjoyed learning from their experiences and carry out the degree knowing I’m being taught the right information.”

She wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the degree to other students.

“There’s so much more to New Zealand Sign Language and interpreting than you think you know. The programme gives you the ability to learn a language and interpreting skills, and immerses you in the small but important Deaf community. This is a practical degree and has constant face-to-face training and support from the lecturers.”

The right fit
Holly says she knew fairly early on that a career as a New Zealand Sign Language interpreter would be the right fit for her.

“I wanted a job that would offer different experiences every day and didn’t require me to sit behind a desk. Through New Zealand Sign Language interpreting I can learn a complex language and acquire knowledge of the New Zealand Deaf community. The three-year degree is immersive from day one, and is being taught by native users of New Zealand Sign Language as well as qualified interpreters.”

Time has passed very fast, she says.

“Before you know it, graduation is only a few months away. This is a daunting time, but my lecturers have been able to provide guidance for life after university and they have provided me with connections that will help me on later endeavours. One I graduate I’ll begin my interpreting career within the Deaf community, with the eventual goal of learning te reo Māori to become a tri-lingual interpreter.”

Advice for other students
Expecting to complete her degree at the end of the year, Holly has some great advice for other students.

“If you’re struggling to figure out what you want to do or what your passion is, just try something. Just because you’ve never thought of yourself doing that doesn’t mean you can’t try.”

For Holly, it was taking a New Zealand Sign Language night class that ignited her passion.

“I was inspired from my first night class at AUT. I walked into the class to find myself surrounded by other people who had the same interests that I did. I learned so much in that first class that I was instantly hooked.”

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