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Waiariki Celebrates Student Success

Monday, February 28 2005

Town Meets Gown – Waiariki Celebrates Student Success at Graduation

It is time for graduands of Waiariki Institute of Technology to have their dedication and study formally recognised this week as they come to receive the diplomas and degrees they have worked so hard to achieve.

There will be two ceremonies on consecutive days later this week, in tune with Waiariki’s bi-cultural commitment. There are 67 students who have chosen to graduate on Tangatarua Marae and 109 at the Rotorua Convention Centre. The total number of graduands this year will be 247 with 71 receiving their qualification in absentia.

Dr Reynold Macpherson, CEO of Waiariki, says that there are several reasons that this event is important. First of these is to is to celebrate the success of the learners.

“It is a rite of passage celebrating a personal transformation. Everyone graduating today deserves our warmest congratulations and deepest respect.”

Dr Macpherson says that it is also a day when Waiariki celebrates its relationship with the wider community and dresses in the traditional black gowns and other regalia of the teaching profession.

“It is a time when town meets gown. Another tradition is seen in the korowai (traditional Maori cloak) of those who can combine whakapapa (genealogy) with such advanced learning. Through such dress, Waiariki celebrates the blending of two cultures and two sets of traditions.”

The first ceremony will take place at 2pm on Thursday, March 3 on Tangatarua Marae at Waiariki’s Mokoia Campus. Graduands will meet at 1.30pm outside the main administration block and process to the marae at 1.45pm.

Ken Kennedy, Kaumatua of Waiariki said that graduation on the marae is always a very moving occasion.

“The whole whanau (family) can be involved in the celebration by singing waiata and performing haka while their family member received their tohu (diploma or degree). The wairua is flowing throughout the whole performance, an awesome feeling for those who are graduating.”

Guest speaker will be Professor Tamati Reedy, Pro Vice-Chancellor with responsibilities for Maori Development at the University of Waikato.

Of Ngati Porou descent, Professor Reedy has studied both in New Zealand and in the USA. He has a Doctorate in Linguistics from the University of Hawaii and was also a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Alabama.

He received the New Zealand Medal in 1990 after seven years as the Chief Executive and Secretary for the Maori Affairs Department and managed his own consultancy business in education and training for several years before he was appointed his present position. The second ceremony at the Rotorua Convention Centre on Friday, March 4 will begin with a procession from the City Focus at 1.45pm. They will proceed through the town dressed in their academic regalia arriving at the Convention Centre at 2pm.

The guest speaker will be Bryce Heard, Chief Executive of the Forest Research Institute of New Zealand Limited.

Mr Heard has led major changes at Forest Research since being appointed chief executive eight years ago and has worked very hard to build a better future for New Zealand forestry.

Deryck Shaw, Waiariki Council Chair will confer the degrees and award the diplomas at each graduation ceremony.

Each ceremony has a Valedictorian speech made on behalf of the graduating students. Tausese Iona will speak at the Thursday ceremony. She is graduating with the Diploma of Teaching – Early Childhood Education. Bachelor of Nursing graduand, Susan Maree Dentice is the Valedictorian at the Friday ceremony.

First for Early Childhood Education

This year’s graduation ceremony will be a special one for the Early Childhood Education staff as this is their first intake of students to graduate from the recently started courses on the Taupo and Gisborne Campuses.

It is also the first time that they will have students graduating under the Recognition of Prior Learning scheme. Wendy Twentyman fits into both of these categories. An ex-Karitane nurse, she first started working at Taupo Kids Community Centre 14 years ago and began her Diploma of Teaching Early Childhood Education at Waiariki in 1993.

Although she was not able to complete her diploma at that time she has continued working in early childhood education ever since and has attended various courses by different providers and workshops along the way.

“It was great that my previous experience was taken into consideration and I did not have to repeat parts of some modules that I had already completed. I was able to complete the course in one and a half years instead of three.”

Early Childhood Education student puts learning into reality

Deanna Hunter, an early childhood education graduand from the Mokoia Campus in Rotorua, has always wanted to run a business but found that her talents lay in the area of teaching. Now she has managed to realise her ambition through gaining a Diploma of Teaching - Early Childhood Education at Waiariki and opening her own day care centre.

Deanna Hunter started her Diploma seven years ago then she had four children in a row. This put a stop to her studies for a while.

For five years Deanna had attended a parenting course run by her local church group which taught parents how to raise children with good values and respect for themselves and others.

During the final year of the course Deanna started up a day-care centre using the church building as the premises. The centre has now been open for a year. It has a licence to care for 40 children, employs a staff of five and has become the focus of a kind of informal parents group.

What with staring up a business, studying and raising four children of her own Deanna’s life was pretty hectic last year.

“I was a mad woman for a while. Friends were saying to me ‘look out girl, you’re not going to make it’. The tutors were really great. The support that they gave me made it all possible.”

Programmes graduating will be:

New Zealand Diploma in Business Diploma in Information and Communications Technology (Level 5) Diploma in Information and Communications Technology (Level 6) Unitec Bachelor of Computing Systems National Diploma in Forestry (Forest Management) Diploma in Hospitality Management Diploma in Tourism Management Bachelor of Nursing Diploma of Teaching - Early Childhood Education Bachelor of Applied Social Science Diploma in Journalism (Print) Diploma in Te Reo Maori Diploma in Art and Design Diploma in Art and Design (Level 7) Bachelor of Maori Studies


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