Ngawai Barry-Hohaia

Ngawai Barry-Hohaia

Production Design Engineer, ICT
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu

She has always been interested in how things work, says Ngawai Barry-Hohaia who is graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) this August.

“Engineering had long been the path that interested me most. It provides great insights into how things work, and the applications are endless with engineering, both in terms of your studies and potential job opportunities.”

After successfully completing her degree, Ngawai has now fulfilled her dream of being an engineer and is working as a production design engineer for ICT, a world-leading manufacturer of electronic access control and security solutions.

“In this role, I get to look into the systems that help during manufacturing. This can include developing new designs, looking into current faults or making any of the existing processes better. I’m so fortunate to have a position where I get to do a lot of hands-on work and can apply a lot of what I’ve learnt through my studies.”

Finding her path
While she knew she wanted to pursue engineering, deciding which engineering discipline to specialise in wasn’t always easy, Ngawai admits. Fortunately, she was offered some guidance.

“When I was first looking into AUT, I wasn’t sure which course I wanted to study. I met with Dr Jeff Kilby, a senior academic in the engineering department, and he took the time to know my interests and expectations of studying in order to find the right path for me. It was so great to see that he wanted to take the time to help me find the right path, rather than just adding another number to the list and trying to sell me on something that wasn’t suitable for me.”

She loved having flexibility in choosing her courses, Ngawai says.

“Since the different engineering fields covered in the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) have such a wide stretch, there were many options to go for. These options made it easy to find a path that interested me and made studying as easy as possible. I would have struggled if I had to constantly study something I didn’t enjoy.”

Advice for other students
Ngawai’s advice for other students is simple: ask for help if you need it.

“There are so many resources available at AUT, and so many people willing to help us. The lecturers are extremely helpful and will go out of their way to help students get into the position to pass their courses. There were always the right people around to make any potentially challenging moments easier, and if I couldn’t find the right person then staff always could. Everyone made it a really easy experience while studying.”

AUT’s diversity makes it easy to fit in, she adds.

“The diversity was one of the reasons I chose AUT. It’s uncommon to be Māori and a woman in the engineering fields, and AUT was the place that made me feel like it was a normal place for me to be.”

Website search