Te Puea Matoe

Te Puea Matoe

3rd-year student, Bachelor of Arts in Māori Development and Bachelor of Laws

Te Roroa/Ngāti Ruahine

If you want to make a difference to your community and people, studying double degrees in law and Māori development is a great option, says Te Puea Matoe who is in the third year of her Bachelor of Arts in Māori Development and Bachelor of Laws.

“I’ve long been interested in law, and there’s definitely a need for more Māori lawyers. My goal is to use my qualifications to enhance support and opportunities for Māori. I’m extremely excited about my future prospects and look forward to seeing what’s in store over the next couple of years.”

Contemporary and supportive
Choosing where to study was easy, Te Puea says.

“AUT is known as an innovative, contemporary university with a community feel and great academic staff. My Māori development and law lecturers have been awesome, not to mention the other students I’ve met. I would consider many of them lifelong friends.”

She has also been impressed by the outstanding support available to students.

“Working and studying is often difficult, particularly around exam time and when the assignments started piling up. But I had absolutely amazing support from all my lecturers, the student services, and the Māori and Pacific Law Students’ Association. That really helped.”

New skills and opportunities
There have been many highlights of her studies so far, Te Puea says.

“I’ve learnt so much – from developing good time management skills to the importance of networking and maintaining good, healthy relationships. I’m proud of my excellent grades, and have received the Peter Harwood Scholarship for Community Excellence and Leadership for the third year in a row.

“Another highlight for me was being accepted as a volunteer at the Auckland Community Law Centre. This was amazing – I got to do the research and give actual real-life legal advice to clients, under the supervision of a lawyer.”

A strong student society
Now in her third year of her double degrees, Te Puea is looking forward to assisting other Māori law students on their educational journey as the president of the Māori Law Students’ Association – Te Aro Ture.

“I feel absolutely blessed to be a part of Te Aro’s kaupapa. Our main purpose is to advance the achievement and success of Māori law students at AUT, but we’re also open to all law students and it’s such a great way to not only learn new skills, but connect and build relationships with fellow students.

“One of the standouts for me is being able to attend the Māori Law Society Conference each year, which is always a huge inspiration. We get to meet some of New Zealand’s most prominent Māori in the legal profession, and rub shoulders with the likes of Chief Justice Elias Sian, Moana Jackson, Annette Sykes, Precious Clarke, Justice Whata and Justice Goodard etc.”