Master of Communication Studies student
Bachelor of Communication Studies in Digital Media
Learning about interactive media was eye opening, says digital media student 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.”
This experience sparked her interest in wanting to help people learn more about Tonga, says Hulu who is now studying a Master of Communication Studies.
“My master’s project is an app that will help people learn more about Tongan foods. I’ve decided to base my project around my culture and food because they’re 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 culture and food.”
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.”
Hulu says there have been many highlights throughout her studies.
“My very first highlight was in 2014 when I received the AUT Pacific Students Communications Scholarship (Undergraduate). I was beyond grateful that the university I had chosen to study at, was willing to pay for my fees.
“I was also extremely honored to have received the FCB Change Agency Award for Digital Media Excellence, which included an internship with FCB. I learned a lot from FCB and am grateful for the experience. I was also awarded the Communication Studies Postgraduate Scholarship for my master’s degree. I feel so blessed to be doing what I love and be given such great opportunities at AUT.”
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.”