Success Stories

This is my story

  • Qiao Hao  profile photo.

    Qiao Hao

    Qualifications: Certificate in English


    Improving her English through studies at Waiariki Institute of Technology has opened up a world of possibilities for Qiao Hao.

    Originally from China, she moved to New Zealand four years ago after marrying a Kiwi and decided she needed to improve her English before choosing a career path.

    Qiao Hao has a master’s degree in science from China and is considering a couple of options – secondary school teaching or working in a medical laboratory.

    The mother of two is leaning toward the latter and after a year studying English at Waiariki, has embarked on a Graduate Diploma in Science paper at the Auckland university of Technology where she attends once a week.

    Her English classes at Waiariki gave her the confidence to take her science studies further.

    “Some of the studies I am doing now are quite challenging but I am finding I can cope with it – I don’t think that would have been possible if I had not improved my English through Waiariki first,” she says.

    Qiao Hao found the environment at the Rotorua campus to be very supportive with small classrooms providing plenty of opportunities for valuable one-on-one time with tutors.

    Coming from Tianjan, China, a city of more than 10 million where she taught primary school classes with 200 students, she found herself in a class of only about 15 English students at Waiariki.

    “Moving to Rotorua was a very big change for me … but it has been a good change for me,” she says.

    “I’m very happy here – the future looks good.”

    Whatever path she ends up choosing after finishing her current studies, Qiao Hao says improving her English has been the first important step to helping her achieve her goals in her new home.

Business Communications and Computing

  • Aimee London  profile photo.

    Aimee London

    Qualifications:Diploma In Accounting Graduate; Now student of Bachelor of Applied Management


    Aimee London has her sights set on a career as a chartered accountant and has been going from strength to strength as her studies at Waiariki Institute of Technology have progressed.

    The Diploma in Accounting graduate is now studying toward a human resource management paper and will then have just one paper left to finish her New Zealand Diploma in Business. She then plans to pursue a Bachelor of Applied Management.

    Aimee has a passion for numbers and aspires to be a self-employed chartered accountant, a career she says is about much more than number crunching. “It’s also about communication and written and interpersonal skills and plays a vital role in the success of businesses.”

    A career in accounting opens up a variety of opportunities – financial and accounting management, auditing, taxation and accounting information systems are just some of the options.

    The applied management degree, she says, will give her the necessary theory, tools, skills and concepts required to practice accounting successfully and confidently.

    Aimee is proving to be a top student, earning an Excellence Award for Top Student in second year accounting and business studies, and achieving an A+ average in nine of 10 papers, achievements which have increased her confidence.

    She also sat on the student board for Waiariki to gain accreditation through the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants for chartered accountant qualifications which are now available.

    Mum to two young children, Aimee says her studies have been challenging at times but with good time management she’s found them very enjoyable and rewarding.

    For Aimee, gaining the qualifications she is pursuing through Waiariki is also about being a good role model for her children and she says her husband has been extremely supportive all the way.

    “I really wanted to set a standard for my children, show them you can achieve things at any time in life and that education is really important.”


  • Motoi Jonathan  profile photo.

    Motoi Jonathan

    Qualifications:Diploma in Creative Writing, Diploma in Te Reo Māori Graduate


    Inspired by what she learned at Waiariki Institute of Technology, Motoi Jonathan is living her dream.

    She enjoyed her Diploma in Creative Writing studies so much that after gaining her qualification she went on to complete a Diploma in Te Reo Māori, also at Waiariki, this time as a full-time on-campus student.

    Having also graduated from that, she is now furthering her language studies and pursuing her writing dream.

    The Rotorua mother of Ngāti Awa and Tuhoe descent, has always aspired to be a writer and signed up for classes at Waiariki as an adult. She completed the creative writing course online and says she had “fantastic” support whenever she required help.

    Studying online gave her the flexibility she needed to juggle family life with her personal ambitions.

    Now taking her te reo Māori studies further through Te Pū Wānanga o Anamata in Taneatua, she is also busy writing fiction and screenplays and is keen to be part of the effort to turn Māori myths and legends of old into contemporary stories for today’s younger generation. Writing educational resources in Māori is another possibility.

    “The Waiariki courses gave me the confidence to actually be a writer, to put myself out there. I’m loving what I’m doing right now – for me this is pretty much living the dream.”

    Following on from her studies at Waiariki and Anamata, Motoi is considering continuing on to a master’s degree in te reo Māori.

    “It’s something I would never have had the confidence to pursue if I hadn’t signed up at Waiariki.

    “The more I learn, the more confident I get and the more pathways I discover, it’s exciting.”

Culinary Hospitality and Tourism

  • David Remmerswaal  profile photo.

    David Remmerswaal

    Qualifications:Bachelor of Tourism Management Student


    With a Diploma in Communications from Waiariki Institute of Technology under his belt and on the way to completing a Bachelor of Tourism Management, David Remmerswaal believes he has found his niche.

    He has his sights set on a tourism marketing career and his Waiariki credentials have already helped him gain an internship with Rotorua-based Dubzz Digital Marketing company.

    Most of the company’s clients are in the tourism industry and David enjoys the innovation involved in marketing.

    “You have to be creative, figure out the best way to communicate something and appeal to the target market,” says the Rotorua local, whose travels in Europe, Asia and the Pacific got him keen on tourism.

    He’s now hoping to combine his interest in tourism with his passion for marketing, social media and mobile technologies.

    His three-year Bachelor of Tourism Management studies have increased his understanding of tourism and his internship is helping him to get a feel for the local industry.

    “Tourism is really broad and there are opportunities both nationally and internationally,” David says.

    Rotorua being a “tourism Mecca”, Waiariki was the obvious choice for David to learn about the industry. The fact that it meant he could study in his home town was a real bonus.

    He says his studies at Waiariki have opened his eyes to how vast and varied an industry tourism is and he’s excited about the many opportunities he will have. He has particularly enjoyed interacting with and learning from his fellow students, many ofwhom are from overseas.

    “A lot of the students on my course are international students so interacting with them, I’m learning about their cultures and customs. I’m learning about tourism not only from the tutors but also the other students.”

Forestry and Primary Industries

  • Waimaria Temara  profile photo.

    Waimaria Temara

    Qualifications:Certificate in Agriculture and Farm Maintenance Graduate


    Studying at Waiariki Institute of Technology helped Waimaria Temara discover a love of the land.

    The Taupo 21-year-old is working as a farm hand after graduating with a Certificate in Agriculture and Farm Maintenance and has set herself some long-term goals.

    Right now she’s gaining as much experience as she can on a trust-owned dairy farm where she keeps herself busy milking a herd of 1,400 cows, fixing fences, feeding out, moving stock and doing other chores. In the future she wants to gain experience on a dry stock farm with a view to one day setting up a farm on family-owned land.

    She was able to complete her studies at Waiariki’s base in Turangi where she was with a “great bunch” of students of all ages and experienced tutors who provided a lot of support.

    Waimaria, who is of Tūwharetoa and Tūhoe descent and came from a kura kaupapa education, said the older students and tutors on her one-year Waiariki qualification were always on hand to help if she needed it and she loved the practical learning.

    “When I finished school I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and I’m not from a farming background – but I thought I would give the farming course a try and found I really liked it.

    “I’m still fairly new around cows but I love being outdoors and being physical. I enjoy being on the move all the time and the mostly practical work you do on a farm.”

    Her Waiariki qualification helped Waimaria gain employment in her chosen field and the learning continues as she becomes more experienced. Among other things, the drought which struck New Zealand during the 2012/13 summer has taught her a lot about coping in difficult farming conditions.

    She says her qualification and everything she learns on the job is helping her toward her ultimate goal.

Māori Studies

  • Atareta Doctor  profile photo.

    Atareta Doctor

    Qualifications:Diploma in Te Reo Maori


    Cerise Atareta Doctor grew up in a household where te reo Māori was spoken but she wanted to increase her knowledge and understanding and improve her written skills.

    The 18-year-old Diploma in Te Reo Māori student enrolled at Waiariki Institute of Technology straight out of high school and is finding her studies at the Rotorua campus very engaging and stimulating.

    A women’s sevens rugby representative and a member of the Waiariki Academy of Sport, Cerise is especially enjoying learning about and gaining a better understanding of the origins of te reo Māori.

    In a class of students of all ages and from various backgrounds, Cerise is relishing life as a tertiary student, so much so that she’s already looking at her options for further studies at Waiariki when she finishes her one-year diploma.

    “I like learning, and being in a class with people of all ages makes it even more interesting.”

    Of Te Arawa (Ngāti Raukawa/Ngāti Tūwharetoa) descent, Cerise’s ultimate aim is to become a police officer but taking heed of the advice her nan gave her, she’s decided to gain some life experience before trying to achieve that goal and expects fluency in te reo Māori to stand her in good stead.

    “I like the idea of helping out the community, and the intensity and challenges of police work, and I think speaking Māori would definitely help me to be a better police officer.”

    She says it will also be a backup, should she not make it into the police force. If that were to happen, Cerise says, she would pursue a career in teaching the language.

    “Being able to speak fluent Māori and write it as well will open up a lot of opportunities for me.”

Nursing and Health

  • Amanda Gallacher  profile photo.

    Amanda Gallacher

    Qualifications:Bachelor of Nursing


    The more Amanda Gallacher has learned about nursing, the more certain she has become that it’s what she is meant to be doing.

    Natural nurturing instincts led the second-year Waiariki Institute of Technology Bachelor of Nursing student to pursue a career as a nurse and her studies are opening her mind to a whole world of possibilities.

    Amanda loves the challenge of it all – even having to juggle her studies with part-time work and family life – and says a strong support network is helping her to succeed.

    Returning to studying as an adult wasn’t as difficult a transition as Amanda thought it might be. She believes that’s largely because at Waiariki the learning is more intimate with smaller classes than at university, providing the opportunity to ask questions and get advice and support from tutors. There’s also a lot of support from fellow students.

    “We get broken up into groups and do a lot of stuff together so you become pretty tight and it’s been really important to have that support from my peers. We all drive each other. There’s a lot more self-directed learning now so you’ve got to be motivated and committed but I love the challenge.”

    Practical experience in various health settings has given Amanda an insight into the various directions she could take her nursing career. A former university psychology student and initially having a particular interest in mental health, she is now undecided about what direction she will take, relishing the opportunity to explore all her options before making a final decision.

    “I’ve really loved all the placements I’ve been on and I’ve learnt a lot from those experiences,” she says.

    “The work experience gives you an opportunity to work at the coal face and apply all the theory and I think that’s where you learn the most.”

Social Sciences and Teaching

  • Kirstie Storey  profile photo.

    Kirstie Storey

    Qualifications:Diploma In Early Childhood Education Graduate; Now student of Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood Education


    Kirstie Storey loves to see young children succeed and Waiariki Institute of Technology enabled her to also focus on something else she holds dear – biculturalism.

    “I’ve always enjoyed interacting with children and watching them learn and flourish – you never know what they’ll come up with next,” the 24-year-old early childhood education student says.

    Having spent much of her childhood living on the marae, Kirstie places a lot of importance on biculturalism and she wants to incorporate that into a career within New Zealand’s early childhood education sector.

    “I was basically brought up on the marae on the East Coast and in Australia and there has always been a strong focus in our family on te reo Māori and culture. I feel I have something to offer in that respect.”

    Having graduated with a Diploma in Early Childhood Education, Kirstie is now working toward upgrading her qualification to the early childhood degree at Waiariki with a view to one day becoming a teacher of future early childhood teachers herself.

    First, however, she will have to become a fully registered early childhood teacher and gain some experience in the sector.

    Her Waiariki qualifications will open up many opportunities and could see her working in or toward a variety of roles within the early childhood education sector – from mainstream childcare to bicultural childcare, primary teaching, early childhood centre management or ownership, policy development, tutoring, specialist fields like behavioural services or social work.

    Of Ngāti Porou/Kahungunu descent, Kirstie taught new entrants in Brisbane but returned to New Zealand to get into early childhood education because she wanted to learn and teach in the strong bicultural learning environment provided by Waiariki.

    “Our class became like a family and that was a really good environment for me.”

Trades and Technical

  • Daynah Sperry  profile photo.

    Daynah Sperry

    Qualifications:Certificate in Automotive Workshop and Repair Graduate


    Daynah Sperry has always loved tinkering with cars.

    She grew up watching her dad build motorbikes and later helping her brother, now a panelbeater, fix his cars.

    While she studied fashion design at high school and won several competitions, cars have always been her main passion and she jumped at the chance to take an automotive class in her final year at Rotorua Girls’ High School.

    The now 18-year-old found she already knew quite a lot from having watched and helped her dad and brother and she signed up for Waiariki Institute of Technology’s six-month Certificate in Automotive Workshop and Repair.

    “I loved the Waiariki course,” she says. “The tutors were really helpful and I didn’t feel out of place at all.”

    Daynah says she surprised some of her fellow male student with her knowledge and skills.

    Having completed one certificate, she’s now planning to do more studies at Waiariki, with a view to becoming a fully fledged mechanic.

    In the meantime, she is working at Repco where she says she’s continuing her learning.

    “I’ve got good mentors and I’m learning heaps about car parts and how they are used and fitted. Doing this job, I’ve also met a lot of people in the industry which I’m confident will help me to find work as a mechanic once I’m qualified.”

    Daynah says if she hadn’t had the chance to take an automotive class while at secondary school and hadn’t been able to do the certificate at Waiariki, in her home town, her life would have taken a different path.

    One day she’d like to own her own automotive workshop, and the skills she’s learning while working in between gaining qualifications at Waiariki are giving her further insight into the industry.

Page last updated: 02 May 2017