57 Year Old Thomas Tumai, Studies Leadership At Waiariki

30 Sep 2014

When a chance came along for Thomas Tumai to engage in some further study following the closure of his school in 2012, he opted for the Rotorua campus of Waiariki Institute of Technology.

The former deputy principal of Murupara’s Rangitahi College was leaning toward something ‘light and easy’ but his school teacher partner encouraged him to open his eyes to other ‘harder’ options in the prospectus, believing they would open doors.

Thomas admits it was good advice because returning to study did open doors; in fact, he credits his professional mentoring and leadership diploma with giving him a “huge advantage” in gaining his current role as deputy principal at the 800-student Kaitaia College.

“I absolutely loved my Waiariki experience; being on the other side of the profession after 30-odd years was so refreshing and fascinating. I’ll definitely work out a way to do further study if a postgraduate course in professional mentoring and leadership becomes available through Waiariki. I’m so hooked, I would go on to do my master’s in it too.”

Thomas loved being with young minds again, and really enjoyed learning the theory behind the practices he had been using during in his teaching years.

“It validated the majority of my methods, but also taught me some things needed to change.” 

The 57-year-old has iwi affiliations with Tainui so initially attended Hamilton Teachers’ Training College before adding a Diploma of School Management from Carrington Technical College (now UNITEC) in Auckland and a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching from Te Wānanga o Raukawa in Otaki.

“The Waiariki set up is wonderful and the place is filled with positive feeling. Whether it’s talking to lecturers from other faculties, library advisors, café staff or other students, everyone is so encouraging.”

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Page last updated: 02 May 2017