Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti
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In 2014, Tivaini Foma’i started his Bachelor of Recreation and Sport* at EIT. It was a time when Tivaini was transitioning out of professional rugby and looking for new career opportunities
Tivaini said he loved every part of his studies although he had to juggle a number of things. “My family was growing, I worked as residential carer at Hohepa to keep everything afloat and coached rugby, but it all paid off,” he says. Tivaini is now working as a PE teacher at Hastings Boys’ High School and was also appointed as the school’s Pasifika Dean.
In this role he is supporting Pasifika students to adapt to New Zealand life, while staying true to their individual culture. He helps them to overcome language barriers and other challenges and to improve educational outcomes. “I’m grateful that I’m able to make a difference and to empower young people to make their choices,” he explains.
Tivaini’s two brothers are also strongly committed to education. Ausage, who played rugby in France, is currently studying a Diploma in Sport, Recreation and Exercise at EIT. The 31-year-old says that it takes a little bit of courage to commit to studying but he has met great people on the way and extended his knowledge and skills. “A lot of people have to juggle many things at once and so do I. I have three kids and I’m working in a gym but studying is a worthwhile experience,” says Ausage.
Neria, the youngest, plays for the Magpies and completed a Certificate in Sport and Exercise at EIT. Neria says that the Magpies personal development system is a game-changer for many players and helps them to get an education and build a career outside rugby. He is toying with the idea of continuing with higher level studies once his rugby career wanes.
Tivaini has always been a strong advocate of education and recommends everyone to give it a try. The brothers emphasise that it is important to be confident enough to do what your heart tells you to do, take the necessary steps to get a qualification and then follow through.
* former name of the Bachelor in Sport and Exercise Science