Administrative Assistant, Digital Arts Network
Master of Communication Studies with First Class Honours
Bachelor of Communication Studies in Digital Media
Learning about interactive media was eye opening, says digital media alumna Hulu Tu’inukuafe.
“In my second year at AUT, I took a paper on interactive media, and was fascinated by the creation of apps and how they help people in their everyday lives.
“I soon decided that I really wanted to make an app that represented me. In the final year of my Bachelor of Communication Studies, I created an app about Tonga to provide visitors with information about the island and Tongan culture. It had features that enabled the user to see the hotels and resorts they could stay in, activities they could do and historical destinations in Tonga.”
Increasing knowledge of Tongan food
This experience sparked her interest in wanting to help people learn more about Tonga, says Hulu who then went on to complete a Master of Communication Studies.
“My master’s project is a design concept for an app that will help Tongan people in New Zealand learn more about the Tongan food. Tongans in New Zealand have assimilated into New Zealand culture to fit into New Zealand’s society. An app that is culture-specific to Tongan users can assist in helping them learn more about the Tongan food culture.
“I decided to base my project around my culture and food because they are two things that are important to me. New Zealand is a very multicultural society, but the knowledge of Polynesian food is minimal. As a proud Tongan, I hope designing this app will give people a greater understanding of the Tongan food and culture.”
Hulu’s research was supervised by Dr Gudrun Frommherz and Dr Matt Guinibert.
Lighting the fire
Discovering what she is passionate about has been a highlight of her studies, Hulu says.
“Through my studies at AUT, I have discovered what I want to do and who I want to be. This is a huge step in my life as I was unsure what I wanted to do when I started university. My plan is to keep designing apps that help people learn something new and at the same time make their lives easier. I hope to bring people together through my work, share an interest in learning more about different cultures and embrace each other’s differences.”
After graduating in August 2019, Hulu now works at the Digital Arts Network, an opportunity she got thanks to the AUT Internz service.
“I really enjoy my job and love the people I work with. I applied to work at the Digital Arts Network because of the work they do; designing websites and apps that focus on the user’s experience. That is the career pathway I’ve chosen, and being here gives me the opportunity to work with amazing user experience designers and strategists.
“I’m grateful to the AUT Internz team who helped me get this role. They were really helpful and great at guiding me through the process and following up on what would happen next. I would recommend the AUT Internz service to all students as they can help students find the perfect job.”
The launchpad for media careers
Her interest in communication and the media started in secondary school, Hulu says.
“I loved media studies in high school, so when it was time to decide what to study at university, I chose communications at AUT because it’s an area I’m passionate about.”
Choosing where to study was easy, she says.
“AUT’s communication studies degree has a great reputation as so many of the AUT communications alumni now have successful jobs in the media industry. AUT offers practical classes and as a person who enjoys learning through practical work, there was no doubt that AUT was and still is the university for me.”