Tara Ikinofo

Tara Ikinofo

Graduate, Sport New Zealand
Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in Management

Tainui, Ngai Te Rangi

Sport and physical activity have always been close to her heart, says AUT alumna Tara Ikinofo who completed a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in Management.

“I‘ve always been interested in sport, and living a healthy and active lifestyle. My parents, especially my mum, have always encouraged me to pursue education. Throughout high school I excelled at physical education, so studying sport and recreation was a natural fit.

“Your future pathway should be one of personal fulfilment and happiness. My advice for other students is to be committed and passionate about what you want to do. If you love what you do you will be successful.”

Choosing where to study was easy, says Tara who grew up in Kerepehi, a small town in the Waikato.

“I chose AUT because it offers a variety of different majors within the Bachelor of Sport and Recreation. From what I read about other universities, there didn’t seem to be as much choice to specialise within the field of sport and recreation. Having so many options made AUT very appealing to me.”

Flexibility and industry connections
The workplace experience was one of the highlights of her studies, says Tara who completed her work placements with Auckland Rugby League, Sport Waikato and He Oranga Poutama.

“The workplace experience was one of the highlights of my time at AUT. The skills I’ve developed through the industry experience component of my degree are invaluable for my current job. Having industry experience and relationships made it easy to fit into my role and contribute to relevant work streams.”

She also enjoyed being able to include elective papers of her interest.

“The flexibility of my degree enabled me to include elective papers, so I was able to study te reo Māori as part of my degree. Exploring my culture and developing my language is important to me, so I’m glad I had the opportunity to do that at AUT,” says Tara who received the Top Scholar Award for the Bachelor of Sport and Recreation.

Learning from the best
After graduating last year, she is now part of Sport New Zealand’s sought-after graduate programme, which is designed to create future leaders in the sport sector.

“My job here is very diverse, and I enjoy being surrounded by such experienced industry experts, including former CEOs of regional sport trusts and other sport organisations here in NZ and across the world. Being exposed to their expertise is invaluable.”

She also enjoys being able to work on projects in her areas of interest, including Māori participation, sport in education, and community sport, says Tara.

“Having the opportunity to work in so many different areas of work within Sport New Zealand, and experiencing national workshops/conferences is a great experience and further increases my passion for the sport sector.”