Graduate Policy Advisor, Community and Social Policy, Auckland Council
Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts in International Studies
She has always had a strong sense of justice, says Mackenzie Blucher who came to AUT to study a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies.
“I’ve been passionate about issues like equity and social justice for as long as I can remember. Getting a law degree felt like a natural next step towards finding a career that would help me work towards these passions. I came to AUT because I had heard that the culture was friendlier and less competitive, and I liked that the smaller class sizes would allow me to learn through discussion and debate rather than just textbooks.”
The support she received from the Takawaenga Māori Liaison team was one of the highlights of her time at university.
“I was the first person in my family to go to uni, and I didn’t know anyone at AUT. The support systems in place for first-year Māori students really set me up for success, particularly the taura kaiwhatu tutoring programme. I had a fantastic tutor in my first year, and was a tutor myself for several years afterwards.
“Being given the opportunity to think and talk about the law in a Māori context, and building relationships with other Māori students was invaluable to me, particularly as I found my feet in an unfamiliar environment.”
Creating systemic change
After graduating from AUT in early 2021, Mackenzie now works as a graduate policy advisor for Auckland Council.
“Our department provides our elected members with policy advice that helps shape Auckland Council’s investment in a range of community services, provisions and wider social outcomes such as learning, employment, health, housing, public safety and social order.
“My work in particular is in the community and social development area, and includes engaging with communities, staff and elected members, and creating strategy that reflects these varied views with the intention of making Tamaki Makaurau Auckland a better place to live.”
She enjoys being part of transformational systemic change.
“I’m currently in a really small project team with only two other people, and we’re working on a huge community and social development strategy. It feels so rewarding to be a significant part of a team this early in my policy career, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what positive outcomes it generates for our communities. In this role I can use all the skills I picked up in my degree, while also working towards the public good and engaging in work that fits with my values.”
Advice for other students
Mackenzie has some great advice for other students thinking about studying law.
“Take advantage of the support systems being offered to you while you’re studying at AUT, and feel free to ask for help if you need it.”
A law degree can be applied to a huge range of career paths, she adds.
“Critical thinking and the ability to make smart, educated decisions are skills that can be applied to a huge range of different jobs. Employers love graduates who can think about different perspectives and who understand trade-offs. Don’t feel tied to the law if you find your passion elsewhere.”