Matilda Poasa

Matilda Poasa

Assistant, Native American and Indigenous Program, Sundance Institute, Los Angeles
Bachelor of Māori Development in Māori Media

She loves working for an organisation that champions native and indigenous artists, says Māori media alumna Matilda Poasa who works for the Sundance Institute in LA.

“I love that the Sundance Institute is dedicated to discovering and developing independent artists. What I enjoy most about working here is that we champion the voices and stories of native and indigenous artists. From the work we do to the people I work with, it’s honestly been the most amazing work experience!”

Matilda applied for this sought-after internship in the final year of her AUT degree.

“I was about to graduate and the AUT Internz International Scholarship Programme was offering this amazing opportunity to not only work for the Sundance Institute but to do that in Los Angeles of all places. I didn’t have anything to lose, so I applied. It’s been the best experience for me.“

A rewarding experience
Matilda’s current role aligns well with her passion for ensuring that indigenous voices are being heard.

“Culture is a big part of my identity, and it’s really important that Māori and Pacific voices are heard and our faces seen. I’d always wanted to work in the film industry, so the Māori Media major was an obvious fit because it allowed me to study film, television and the media, but with a cultural lens. Even though I’m Samoan rather than Māori, it was such a rewarding experience.”

She had many highlights throughout her studies, Matilda says.

“I loved that we weren’t just learning about movies; we were picking up cameras and making our own films, going into the studio to record and edit. That kind of learning really appealed to me, and the friends I made are friends for life.

“The biggest highlight of my time at AUT however was graduation. That was the culmination of years of not only my own personal sacrifice but that of my family, friends and those who taught me. My success is definitely not mine alone. So many people had invested in my journey, so on graduation day it was so nice to be able to say ‘We did it’.”

Advice for other students
Matilda, who graduated at the end of 2017, has some great advice for other students.

“Whatever you decide to do, work really hard at it. Nothing worth having ever comes easy. You’ll probably hear the saying ‘C’s get degrees’ but you’re better than that. Aim higher! You’ll never know what you can achieve if you don’t try.

“It’s also important to remember that the ‘do date’ for your assignment shouldn’t be the due date. Don’t leave your assignments until the very last minute to do them. And finally – have fun while you’re at university!”