Manaia Butler

Manaia Butler

3rd-year student, Bachelor of Business in Management and Leadership with minors in Māori Indigenous Business & Sustainable Enterprise

Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whatua, Te Whakatōhea

She chose her degree to hone the innate leadership skills she inherited from her tupuna, says Manaia Butler who is studying a Bachelor of Business in Management and Leadership with minors in Māori Indigenous Business & Sustainable Enterprise

“Growing up as the youngest moko in my whānau, I’ve been consistently guided in effective communication and situational management. Having spent my formative 18 years in Te Tai Tokerau, relocating to Auckland allows me to embrace an independent lifestyle while remaining closely connected to my tūrangawaewae and whānau. I decided to pursue my studies at Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau (AUT) based on the positive experiences my sister shared about her time here.”

Manaia says the rarity of Māori pursuing business studies motivated her further, but she admits that her true passion lies in her cultural heritage.

“I chose to add the Māori Indigenous Business minor to my degree because I recognised its profound significance and importance. It has empowered me to seamlessly integrate traditional Western business practices into the realm of Māori indigenous business, fostering a personal connection as a Māori wahine. Recognising the pivotal role of cultural inclusivity as a potent work asset for the future of workplaces, I’ve strategically paired this with my other minor in sustainable enterprise. I’m confident that my forward-thinking approach will propel me successfully in my future endeavours.

“I’d wholeheartedly encourage anyone to consider undertaking the Māori Indigenous Business minor. For those who may feel hesitant or whakama about not being Māori, I assure you – don't be! It’s an incredibly welcoming environment where I’ve personally found a sense of home and comfort.”

One big whānau
At AUT she has found a community that encourages each other to thrive, Manaia says.

“My experience of studying at AUT has been enriched by the vibrant social atmosphere where everyone is genuinely supportive and friendly, fostering a sense of collective success. Throughout my academic journey, I've been actively involved with Tītahi Ki Tua, an experience that has been enriching for my soul.

“My involvement with Tītahi Ki Tua has played a pivotal role in making my transition to university seamless. Collaborating, conversing and learning alongside students from across the motu creates a sense of whānau away from home here in Auckland. I consider myself fortunate to be in an environment where this familial connection thrives. Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini – my success is not mine alone, but it is the strength of many.”

Expecting to graduate later this year, she feels confident that the job she will love will find her.

“I’d love to work for a company, where I can be involved in an inclusive team; a Māori team where i can have a say on the future of Māori. However, ultimately I think that I‘d prosper in any job i put my mahi in. Pursuing my business degree enables me to elevate and refine my inherent unique abilities through a comprehensive understanding gained from the insights and expertise of esteemed professionals. I’m confident that my academic journey will pave the way for my personal and professional growth.”

Advice for other students
Now in the third year of her degree, Manaia has some great advice for other students.

“My advice is to embrace independence! Connect with a multitude of people, seize every opportunity within your grasp, and engage in activities that align with your schedule.”

It's the memories, the knowledge gained and the people you encounter that leave a lasting impact, she adds.

“Building a network and fostering connections will undoubtedly pave the way for countless opportunities that may unfold in the future; making your journey smoother and more rewarding.”