Lavenia Ana Taliai-Mataitini

Lavenia Ana Taliai-Mataitini

Graduate Intern, Auckland Transport
Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Resolution

The resources and employability support she had access to at AUT have been among the highlights of her time at university, says Lavenia Ana Taliai-Mataitini.

“I appreciated the availability of resources and support from the AUT Student Hub, employability support, volunteering opportunities and many others. I really enjoyed the interactive classes and meeting my friends for study or leisure activities. These are all reasons why I’ve managed to confidently navigate my way to landing a graduate role before I’m graduating.”

Completing the AUT Edge Award, which helps AUT students stand out to future employers, was one of her favourite experiences.

“I chose to do the AUT Edge Award because I felt like it was a great foundation for my career path and from the experiences I’ve gained friendships, and more confidence in my presentation and communication skills.

“For the award, I completed volunteering, leadership and employability activities that challenged and encouraged me to develop my skills. For example, meeting with students and professional people at the same time helped me build networks and friendships, as well as upskilling my soft skills to prepare me in my future career.”

Making a positive impact
Expecting to officially graduate in August with a Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Resolution and a minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Lavenia is proud of being offered a place in Auckland Transport’s sought-after Nga Kaihoe Graduate Programme.

“I was one of the 500 applicants that applied in 2022. 100 of those were interviewed, and I was one of the 38 candidates who received a graduate role. The duration of the graduate programme is 18 months, and we have internal rotations where we explore and get to work with different departments at Auckland Transport.

“I’m currently with the community transport team, which works with communities, marae and schools. I’m enjoying interacting with people from all ages and background and having an impact in the community. Knowing that our input makes a difference is what keeps the work interesting, and no two days are the same.”

Her experiences at Auckland Transport so far have already given her an idea how she sees her future.

“I’d love to land a role in mediation, conflicts of interest or as an investigation specialist at Auckland Transport to be able to help the community as well in the future.”

An easy choice
Lavenia – who has been balancing her studies with her busy family life – says she chose her degree because she was intrigued by how people deal with conflict in professional and communal settings.

“I chose this degree because I was fascinated by the types of conflict there are in society and keen to find out more about the practical and theoretical steps to resolving conflict. The lecturers are amazing, and they really help with topics you may not understand. I especially enjoyed the core courses and some electives that led me to define my learning journey.

“The biggest challenge for me was the first COVID lockdown in 2020. I was doing online learning, juggling three children aged 7, 11 and 4, and running the household. I was so thankful for AUT’s support in my studies and for the financial assistance they offered.”

She also has some great advice for other students who are only at the start of their university journey.

“Find your passion and know the keys to succeed, love yourself and never forget to always ask questions.”