Reintegration Kaiārahi Navigator, PARS (People at Risk Solutions)
Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice
She would love to help create change in New Zealand’s justice system, says Hope Hana-Wheeler who is expecting to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice this August.
“I’ve always been fascinated with crime and the underlying causes behind offending. I really wanted to make a change in society and study something I was interested in, so the decision to study criminology was easy for me.
“After completing my degree, I’m now working for PARS (People at Risk Solutions); an institution that allows me to make significant social change. Ideally, I want to contribute to breaking negative cycles that lead to offending, and change Māori representation within the justice system. Hopefully one day I’ll enrol in further study and complete a master’s degree.”
Encouraging and supportive
She has enjoyed the culture at AUT, says Hope who received an AUT Undergraduate Scholarship in 2019 and 2020 to support her studies.
“AUT is a very accepting and encouraging place, and they really look out for you. There’s so much support for everyone.”
Hope has offered support to many other students herself – as a tāura kaiwhatu, a Māori peer mentor, she shared what she had learnt in her Bachelor of Arts papers with younger students. She was also involved in Tupu Kupu and helped run the AUT Māori Instagram account, where she shared te reo every day.
“I was very involved with the Māori Liaison team and the Learning Communities team, and they made my time at university that much better. Being involved with the Māori student support team helped me become more in touch with who I am as a Māori, and opened up opportunities to me that go beyond an academic level.”
Advice for other students
With her graduation just around the corner, Hope has some great advice for other students.
“My advice to other students is to work hard, plan, have fun and reach out for help when you need it.”
Her other piece of advice is to find people who encourage and empower you to reach your full potential.
“I love how accepting and welcoming our whānau here at AUT are. They make you feel like you’re part of something bigger and really build you up.”