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Sporting opportunities at MIT

13 February 2013

Sporting opportunities at MIT

Malakai Latu

With a promising career in rugby league, Malakai Latu had his future mapped out.

He had just completed a contract for French club Villefranche and planned to spend the next five years playing in Australia.

However, it wasn’t to be. The mother of his three children died unexpectedly and Malakai immediately flew back to New Zealand.

He is now a solo dad to his six-year-old, eight-year-old and 11-year-old and, needing the support of his extended family, has made the decision to remain in New Zealand.

The former Tonga National Rugby League Team player needed a new career to support his family and wanted to make use of his sporting talents.

What direction to take became obvious when Malakai discovered Manukau Institute of Technology is for the first time offering a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science. He will be a foundation student of the degree.

Until now, Manukau residents have needed to attend other institutions to gain a degree in sport.

Malakai had already completed a Diploma in Sport and Recreation at MIT and wanted to study towards a Bachelors degree – but, with his family commitments, the prospect of studying elsewhere was daunting.

“When I heard it was being offered at MIT I couldn’t be happier. The teachers are very supportive and make me feel like I can do it. I signed up immediately.” Malakai says.

MIT Head of Sport Michelle Parsons says being able to offer the Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science is fantastic.

“We’ve had so many of our students wanting to study towards a degree with us, but until now they had to travel to other institutions, which was hard for some of them.

“I’ve been at the School of Sport for 15 years and this is my proudest moment,” Michelle says.

The first cohort of students will start studying towards the degree in February. Those, like Malakai who have already completed a diploma, will go straight into year two of the degree.

Students will learn the specialised skills needed to succeed in a number of sport-related vocational disciplines, such as exercise physiology, biomechanics, coaching, personal training, rehabilitation, exercise psychology, and exercise nutrition.

Malakai intends to specialise in rehabilitation and is excited about the path that lies before him.

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