Makere Carroll

Makere Carroll

Kaitohutohu Whakapāpatanga/Communications Advisor, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori
Bachelor of Communication Studies in Creative Industries

Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Kahu

She loves working to promote te reo as a living language of Aotearoa, says communication studies alumna Makere Carroll who now works for Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, the Māori Language Commission.

“I work on campaigns that promote the use of te reo Māori, making sure we target all supporters of it. I co-represent Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori as part of the Iwi Communications Collective who have been a crucial part in delivering important COVID-19 messaging to iwi and Māori across Aotearoa. The main focus of my role is to utilise my comms and engagement experience to help revitalise and normalise te reo Māori in its own country.

“My grandparents were both teachers and fought to allow te reo to be spoken in schools. 50 years later, after going through Kōhanga Reo, Kura Māori and then through AUT, I’m able to utilise the crucial skills I learned as part of my Bachelor of Communication Studies to contribute to the revitalisation of te reo Māori.”

Makere says she has had a number of career achievements she is proud of, but one particular project stands out.

“My favourite career achievement so far was being part of the team that won Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori the top award at the International Public Relations Association’s Golden World Awards. We won based on our campaign for the Māori Language Moment in 2020 that saw over a million people celebrating te reo Māori at the same time during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. We also took out eight of the nine categories. More recently, I was voted onto the board for the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) where I hope to help more comms students understand the industry.”

Building relationships
She wanted a career that focuses on building relationships, says Makere who completed her Bachelor of Communication Studies in 2021.

“Building relationships with people is inherent in our culture and, as a wahine Māori going through total immersion Māori education, I wanted to learn how to apply that in a creative setting. I chose AUT specifically because it had a great reputation for its communications degree, and I knew there would be a practical focus, rather than just focusing on theory.”

When you start university, don’t be afraid to show who you are as a person, Makere advises other students.

“Bring your whole self to university – your culture, your gender, your whānau, your identity. Bring every part that makes you who you are, and make sure to embody it wholeheartedly and unapologetically.”

Finding her path
Her intercultural communication class at AUT was particularly eye-opening for Makere.

“We discussed how cultures think and communicate differently, and I learned that Polynesian cultures tend to think in a more collective way. The understanding that this way of thinking comes naturally to us made me realise that there’s no one right way to communicate and that collective, holistic mindset is something I should embrace as my communication style. This style influences what I do today, and helps me understand what communities need in a holistic way.”

Another highlight for her was the support she received from AUT’s Māori student support team, says Makere who received a Significant Student Scholarship to study at AUT.

“I was one of few Māori students in my classes at the time, so it was great to be able to go to Hariata Mareroa and the other Māori student support staff for a bit of awhi, manaakitanga and just a good kōrero. They were always there willing to help out, especially when things got busy at exam time.”