Kenza Taele

Kenza Taele

3rd-year student, Bachelor of Health Science (Physiotherapy)

Samoan, New Zealand European, Ngāi Tahu

She has long been interested in sport physiotherapy, says Kenza Taele, a passionate netballer and Bachelor of Health Science (Physiotherapy) student.

“Sport has always been a prominent part of my life and naturally with this came various experiences with physiotherapists. I didn’t always know what I wanted to do after school, however I’ve always been intrigued by the work of musculoskeletal physiotherapists in the sporting world.

“I also realised that I’m in a very special position – being Pakeha, Māori and Samoan – and my multicultural identity enables me to connect to all three of these communities. There’s a shortage of Māori and Pacific physiotherapists in New Zealand, and I wanted to prove that no dream is too big for Māori and Pacific people.”

Coming to AUT for her studies was an easy decision for her.

“Not only is AUT close to my hometown of Tauranga, but I also knew that my strong desire to be successful in my academic endeavours would be well catered for at AUT. I had heard many positive things about the physiotherapy programme at AUT, including its range of resources, incredible support and amazing student experience. I was extremely grateful to receive an AUT Find your Greatness Scholarship, which was an immense financial help for me and assisted me with study and living costs, as well as helping me face the challenges of living away from my family and home.”

A supportive community
Now in the third year of her degree, Kenza says she would highly recommend AUT to other students.

“What I’ve loved the most about my studies so far is seeing the impact I can have on people’s health when applying my learnings to help those in need of physiotherapy. I’ve already had a few opportunities to use my knowledge on real clients, and those experiences have grown my passion for this career.

“I believe that AUT is a university that has been designed to enable its students to thrive through the presence of a supportive community. Throughout my time at AUT, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing the warmth of the Māori support systems; a whānau filled with people that truly care about you and your hauora. I’ve also felt the support from teaching staff that not only constantly offer their time to help us enhance our learnings, but also ensure they get to know us as people.”

As if a physiotherapy degree isn’t demanding enough, she has also managed to pursue a career in netball in addition to her studies.

“This endeavour has meant that much of my spare time has been consumed by my sporting commitments. The support systems installed at AUT have been an immense help to me in learning how to juggle all of my responsibilities and to provide a safe space for me to ask for help when I desperately need it. I’ve still had the opportunity to form amazing friendships with friends and classmates, and these relationships have been a crucial part of my experience at AUT.”

Advice for other students
Kenza’s advice for other students is simple: reach out and ask for help.

“Juggling the challenges of study, external commitments and life in general can become super overwhelming. I had to learn the hard way that reaching out to support systems can be the best thing you can do. It’s not a sign of weakness, nor is it something that is shameful or embarrassing. So don’t be afraid to ask for help early on, so that you can keep yourself out of situations where your hauora becomes impacted.”

She also has some great tips for applying for scholarships.

“When applying for scholarships, I think it’s important that you show yourself off. Highlight the things that make you special; the characteristics that make you who you are and the aspects of you that make you stand out from the rest. Tell them about your fantastic ideas, your big hopes and dreams about the future. You want to make your name shine amongst the rest.”