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Aiming For The Stars With Double Degree In Science And Arts

At the age of 18, Hinerangi Curtis embarked on a five-year journey to achieve an ambitious goal: to complete a double degree - BSc/BA – majoring in Astronomy and Māori studies/te reo Māori at the University of Canterbury.

UC Science graduate Hinerangi Curtis

The double-degree pathway was chosen in 2015 while Hinerangi was still a Year 13 Prefect at Auckland Girls Grammar School. In 2020, Hinerangi is proud to have completed that journey.

“I chose the University of Canterbury because it was the only one offering astronomy as an undergraduate major. Initially I was planning on just doing a science degree but, having been in bilingual education since the age of four, I also wanted to study Māori and te reo. To leave enough room for that, I opted to do a double degree though I feel like my 18-year-old self didn’t fully grasp the gravity of that decision!”

The accomplished UC Aurora Astronomy Scholar, who is of Te Arawa descent, says highlights have included experiencing astronomy in the field at the UC Mt John Observatory, along with mentorship and support from women in science such as UC Associate Professor Karen Pollard and from UC Māori Student Support. In turn, Hinerangi has enjoyed assisting other Māori women on campus.

“I would say to anyone planning to enrol here, choose something you are passionate about. My passion for maths and astronomy kept me going even though astronomy, academically, is very challenging.”

Hinerangi ultimately hopes to teach science in a Kura Kaupapa Māori setting.

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