Rewa Harker

Rewa Harker

Project Lead, Wai Research, Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust
Bachelor of Arts in Māori Development

Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa

Attending university was a long-held dream for her, says Rewa Harker who came to AUT as an adult student to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Māori Development.

“I had always wanted to attend university in my adult life, but children and work always made it seem impossible. When the first-year fees-free policy happened, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and have a go. I was looking to do a te reo Māori class and came across AUT’s Māori development degree.”

Deciding to commit to the Bachelor of Arts in Māori Development was a great decision for Rewa.

“I absolutely loved the experience and felt very grateful to be able to finally tick one of my bucket list dreams off the list! I would encourage anyone who has been keen to attend university but nervous. You might find it intimidating to have a go, or like me you might find it an awesome experience. I’m now looking into applying for a master’s degree to further my career opportunities, and now have the confidence and knowledge that I will be well supported to achieve my next goal.”

The support to succeed
Rewa says she enjoyed studying at Te Ara Poutama, AUT’s Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Development.

“I found they provided an incredible wraparound support system to me and fellow tauira. The lecturers and facilitators were always available for any questions I had, and kept me informed of any scholarships I may be interested in applying for. As an adult student who had never experienced university before, they made me feel very welcome and supported throughout my journey.”

Her advice for other students is to make the most of the support available to students.

“Take advantage of your teachers and the facilitators at Te Ara Poutama. They will support you through your entire journey. It’s an excellent option for study.”

Helping Māori communities
Since graduating from AUT at the end of 2019, Rewa is now working in the research department at Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust.

“We aspire to develop a community research agenda through meaningful partnerships with external research groups; engaging in projects that recognise, value and use principles of kaupapa Māori. I love the incredible people I work with who are committed to helping vulnerable communities, with a focus on urban Māori, to ultimately reach their aspirational goals.”

Her time at AUT helped to open the door to her current role, Rewa says.

“My degree made it possible for me to enter this type of mahi. Prior to this role, I had always worked in television. While I enjoyed that, what I really wanted to do with my life was to contribute positively in some way to helping people, especially Māori. My Bachelor of Arts in Māori Development opened that door for me and enabled me to work in an area I never imagined I would have the opportunity to.”