Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Victoria graduand a top talent

12 December 2012

Victoria graduand a top talent

A quick glance at the academic achievements of one of Victoria University’s latest graduands and you might suppose you’re dealing with a natural intellectual.

Arama Rata, graduating today with a PhD in Psychology, has picked up numerous awards throughout her university career and has an outstanding academic transcript.

However, her primary and secondary school results wouldn’t give any clues into the success Arama would achieve at university.

“I was home-schooled when I was young, so when I eventually started primary school I used to get teased for being stupid because I couldn’t read,” says Arama.

Although Arama caught up with her primary school peers relatively quickly, secondary school was still a challenge.

“I was always getting into trouble for not having the right uniform and for not sitting up straight, and I never really engaged with the subjects I was supposed to be learning about.”

However when she enrolled at Victoria, Arama found that she enjoyed the freedom and independence of a university education. She quickly developed a passion for her courses in psychology and found herself achieving good results, which prompted her to adopt a new approach to education.

“A big shift occurred for me half-way through one of my first-year psychology courses, when my Kaupapa Māori tutor, Dave Gittings, told me I was coming top of the class. From that point on, I wanted to do well to make my tutor and my classmates proud.”

Arama went on to receive the Hunter Memorial Prize for the top first-year psychology student, and the Sir Thomas Hunter Prize for the top Honours student in psychology, giving her the confidence to take on postgraduate studies.

Arama’s PhD research, supervised by Professor James Liu, looks at the links between Māori culture, identity, and mental wellbeing in secondary schools. Her findings show that the more schools promote Māori culture, the more secure the Māori identity of students will be, which then enhances their mental wellbeing.

Arama credits her achievements at Victoria University to the passionate and encouraging staff at the School of Psychology, and the support she gained through the Āwhina whānau, Toihuarewa, Te Kawa a Māui and Te Tumu Herenga Waka.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Review - 'I, Daniel Blake' - Ken Loach's Bleak Masterpiece

'I, Daniel Blake' is a bleak masterpiece, a chilling and moving story of two people striking up an unlikely friendship under extremely adverse circumstances. It is both a polemical indictment of a faceless benefits bureaucracy that strips claimants of their humanity by reducing them to mere numbers, and a celebration of the decency and compassion of ordinary people who look out for one another when the state has abandoned them. More>>

Howard Davis: Review - A Girl Named Mo

Moana Ete brought her three-piece band A Girl Named Mo to Wellington's intimate and iconic Bats Theatre last week for a five-night residency. Each show was recorded and filmed live for the release of her debut album 'Platonic/Romantic' on Loop records later this year. More>>

For The Birds: Who Will Be Crowned Bird Of The Year?

The competition involves well-known and enthusiastic New Zealanders acting as ‘campaign managers’ for their favourite birds with many going to great lengths to get New Zealanders to vote for their chosen bird... More>>


  • Greening the Red Zone - Bird of the year heats up: kōtare concedes, backs kea
  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter

  • Gordon Campbell: On Bob Dylan's Nobel (And The Surplus)

    So Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize for… Literature? Wow. I’d be just as happy if he’d won for his work on particle physics (“One Grain of Sand”, “Simple Twist of Fate”) or got the Economics prize for his work on the theory of contracting (“Don’t Think Twice Its Alright”) ... More>>


    Scoop Review Of Books: Whose Goat Was That?

    Mysterious Mysteries of Aro Valley is a sharp, satirical and sometimes downright scary romp through and around that valley in ways that made me question the realities of the places I thought I knew so well. More>>


    NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

    Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news