Residential Youth Worker, Ko Tāku Reo Deaf Education Centre New Zealand
Bachelor of Māori Development in Māori Media
He loved studying in a kaupapa Māori environment, says Louis Inn Tze Ngā-Tai e Rua Wee; known as Ngā-Tai to his AUT whānau. Born in Singapore, he moved to Auckland as a baby and has long been passionate about te reo Māori.
“I chose this degree because I wanted to study something that would allow me to be creative, use my te reo Māori, and learn more about te ao Māori and kaupapa Māori. I loved being in a kaupapa Māori environment where everyone was so proudly Māori; proud of their culture and language.
“This experience inspired me to strengthen my own reo and I took a gap year and studied abroad in Shanghai for half a year to learn Mandarin Chinese. It also allowed me time to start learning the other official language of Aotearoa; New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL).”
Another highlight of his time at AUT were the creative projects he got to work on, says Ngā-Tai who received a Peter Harwood Scholarship to support his studies,
“My highlights were definitely the creative projects I got to create, including a queer, interracial short story that has been published on Te Kaha Roa website and a short coming out film.”
Making a difference
Since completing his studies, Ngā-Tai now works as a residential youth worker at Ko Tāku Reo Deaf Education Centre New Zealand; a role he finds incredibly rewarding.
“My mahi involves looking after our Deaf youth who stay in our residential accommodation, helping them with mahi kāinga, teaching them life skills and being involved in their lives. I love being able to be a part of the Deaf community; to be involved in the lives of these kids living away from their homes and to almost be a tuakana figure for them. To see their growth and development into young adults is so rewarding.”
He loves being able to incorporate kaupapa Māori in his everyday work.
“Being at AUT has enabled me to learn how to instil and practise kaupapa Māori in whatever I do. I work with many Deaf Māori youth in my current role, so an awareness and understanding of te ao Māori is important, as well as being able to help facilitate things like mihi whakatau.”
Advice for other students
Ngā-Tai, who graduated at the end of 2019, has some great advice for other students.
“My advice would be – do it; go to AUT! I’ve had a taste of other big universities but none can compare to AUT, especially if you’re part of Te Ara Poutama, the Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Development. You’re so supported in your mahi and everyone just wants you to achieve and do well.”
There’s plenty of support available if you ever need it, he says.
“The whanaungatanga and support from the staff at Te Ara Poutama and AUT helped me get through those stressful uni periods.”