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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

7 mins ago

Amy Tuhoro has enjoyed studying the Bachelor of Arts (te reo Māori) at Te Whatukura at EIT | Te Pūkenga in Te Tairāwhiti.

Amy Tuhoro grew up disconnected from te reo Māori and Te Ao Māori, but is making amends now by exploring her culture and language through EIT | Te Pūkenga in Te Tairāwhiti.

Amy (Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga a Mahaki and Tūhoe) grew up in Kawerau in the Bay of Plenty and spent many years as a caregiver before becoming a registered nurse. However a desire to learn te reo led her to enrol in a programme at the University of Waikato.

However, she felt the need to move to Te Tairāwhiti, an area where she has whakapapa to.

“We have connections to the area. That was the main reason for moving here, to get to know about Tairāwhiti and what the way of life is like here, and learning the history here.”

“It’s a different way of life here, and I wanted to learn about that.”

The move was made easier because she was able to cross-credit the courses she had done in Waikato and use it for her Bachelor of Arts (te reo Māori) at Te Whatukura at EIT | Te Pūkenga in Te Tairāwhiti.

“Our family grew up completely disconnected from te reo Māori and the Māori worldview. And I only started learning on and off night classes over the years, but I quit my job and sold my house in Hamilton and enrolled in full immersion last year.”

“It was a massive move and a lot of people thought I was crazy. I always felt like there was something missing and it has been a lifelong dream to be able to speak te reo, but I always found life happens. You can’t just do what I did, really, up and leave everything to pursue it, but the calling was that strong, I did.”

While Amy, 32, is keen to practice what she has learnt, she also wants to potentially use it in her former career in healthcare.

“While I am here, I’ve also been doing Māori medicine, and so to be able to combine both worlds would be ideal.”

Amy says the great thing about the Bachelor programme is the tutors.

“They’re not just teaching us about the language and the culture, they live and breathe it every single day. It’s not just a job to them, it’s who they are. And what more of a better example to learn from, really?”

“The other thing is that it is not just a programme. I’ve been to quite a few learning institutions in my time, but I’ve never felt the level of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga, the sense of family that you get at Te Whatukura at EIT.”

This may not be the last that EIT | Te Pūkenga has seen of Amy as she is keen to do her Honours in the Bachelor of Arts.

“EIT has just been granted to do the Honors programme here in Gisborne, so I’m weighing up whether I do that or not.”

Angela Tibble, Programme Co-ordinator and Lecturer at Te Whatukura, EIT | Te Pūkenga in Te Tairāwhiti, says: “Amy has bought humility, humour, wit, intelligence an open mind and heart to her studies this year.  We are pleased to extend the opportunity of another year of study here in the Tairāwhiti to explore further the opportunities of doing her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree, Te Pikitanga ki Awarua.”