Category Archives: Student Success Story

Tongan Language Week – representing my culture with pride

Mālō e lelei!    

The theme for Tongan Language Week is ‘Fakakoloa ‘a Aotearoa ‘aki ‘a e Loto’i Tonga’ (Enriching Aotearoa with the Tongan Spirit). Today second year Social Work student Ailine Kei shares how she finds pride in her Tongan culture.

Ailine Tongan language photoTongan Language Week, alongside the other Pacific language weeks, is important for young Pasifika people because it gives them the opportunity to learn and embrace the history of their culture and language. Tongan is my first language and it has made me grateful that I have parents and family members that taught me the language and its importance.

I love being a Tongan and belonging to a tight Tongan community that cares for, and appreciates their young people. However, there are a lot of young Tongan people who do not get involved with their culture because they are afraid of what the community will say. Many of the Tongan youth are hesitant when speaking the language around the older generations because they feel they are not saying it correctly or being “ta’eanga” (too Palagi) because they are involved in activities that are not anga fakatonga (the Tongan Way).

Growing up in a Tongan home I was always taught to be proud of who I am. My grandfather is Samoan and my grandmother is Indian Fijian; so that’s extra blessings for my siblings and me to embrace and embark on a journey of finding who we are within these cultures. For me, knowing who I am and where I come from is enough for me to represent my country and culture with pride.

Malo ‘aupito,

Photo: Ailine (right) receiving a UC XL award with her mother

Opportunity for entrepreneurial students


Do you know an entrepreneurial student who would like to get paid to work on a startup over summer?

Applications are now open for the 2016/17 Summer Startup Programme.

If you know of any student who would be interested in this opportunity, please direct them to the Summer Startup web page.

The Summer Startup Programme is a 10 week programme run from November 2016 to February 2017. It is a fantastic opportunity for students to become involved in the start-up world.

We accept students with or without an existing venture into the programme. We also offer a number of scholarships which provide students with $5,000 paid over the duration of the Summer Startup Programme.

By participating in the Summer Startup programme students will benefit from:

  • Mentoring from experienced Canterbury business people
  • Engaging workshops and seminars from our staff and local industry
  • Support to progress your business
  • Dedicated space to work on a venture right here on campus in the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Applications close at 12pm on Thursday the 15 of September.



Pathways to teaching for UC Grads

Recent media coverage has highlighted New Zealand’s critical need for more teachers. There is a particular shortage of teachers in maths, physics, chemistry, technology and te reo subject areas, but some areas of New Zealand are urgently seeking teachers in a variety of subject areas.

Did you know that UC is a world leading provider of teacher education? We are ranked in the top 100 in the world at UC for Education! We have a number of highly respected, accredited pathways to a career in teaching through our College of Education, Health and Human Development.

For degree graduates it only takes one more year of study to become a teacher- either with a one year Master’s degree or a graduate diploma. While you study you will gain plenty of practical experience working in schools or early childhood centres mentored by expert teachers who support your learning.

Your one-year graduate options are:

Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching

Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary)

Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary)

Master of Teaching and Learning (specialising in either early childhood, primary or secondary teaching)

All of these programmes provide significant time spent in schools or EC centres, strong bi-cultural focus, curriculum understanding and teaching and leadership development.

Applications are now open. For more information, advice and the application form visit

WEB student sculpture exhibition


Okeover Community Gardens, University of Canterbury


  • Opening: Tuesday 16 August, from 4:30pm
  • Artist Talks and tour of artworks: Saturday 20 August, 11 am
  • Exhibition runs: 17 Aug – 24 August

Featuring work by Monique Berard, Brogan Findlay, Giselle Fortune, Phoebe Hinchliff, Liam Krijgsman and Sabrina Palmer.

Presented by second year sculpture students from the Ilam School of Fine Arts, WEB is an exhibition which reveals an intricate network of connections linking its outdoor site in the Okeover Community Gardens to other places, times, people, ideas, and imaginings.

The public, students, staff and their families and friends are warmly invited to the opening from 4.30pm on Tuesday 16 August in the Okeover Gardens, off Engineering Road at UC.

An artist talk will be held on Saturday 20 August at 11am. This will be an informal opportunity to meet the artists, ask questions and engage with contemporary art.

Managed by the UC Sustainability Office, the Okeover Community Gardens is a shared space where the community works together growing and sharing food and learning new skills. It employs sustainable growing methods and is part of a network of such gardens across Christchurch. It is also a tranquil retreat for relaxation. The artworks explore these concepts as well as the wider context of the site from different perspectives. The exhibition attempts to unearth layers and connections on and in the garden grounds. It examines the garden’s past, present and parallel existences and its placement within the wider surroundings of the university campus, whilst also considering the garden’s values and the interactions it facilitates.

Individual artworks consider ideas as diverse as the brutalist architecture of the university, people’s subconscious states, the transformation of language, the prehistory of the site, the relationship between natural and artificial, and the residue left by imaginary inhabitants.

Gardening and contemporary art communities can appear exclusive; WEB aims to draw the fine arts and sustainability communities, staff, students and the public together, inviting them to build connections.

For more information and updates on the event of bad weather visit:

Cook Islands Language Week – Reconnecting with my culture

Kia orana! Cook Islands Language Week runs from 31 July until 6 August. In New Zealand, just over 20% of our Pacific population are Cook Islanders (61,839 people), our second largest Pacific ethnic group. UC currently has around 50 students with Cook Islands heritage.

We asked one of our Cook Islands students, MahMah Timoteo, to talk about why the week is important to her.

– by MahMah Timoteo

Cook Islands Language Week means different things for different people. For me, the week symbolises a means to rediscover and reconnect. The first time I realised I was a Cook Islander was the day my mother gave me a stuffed bear with a little palm tree on the front of it. I later learned that my father was born in the Cook Islands. I however, was born in Australia along with my sister and brother. Growing up, I was completely disconnected from any form of Cook Island culture or heritage. When I moved to New Zealand, I felt what little Pacific Island identity I had was slowly weltering away.

I spent 13 years living on the West Coast of the South Island. My siblings and I were some of the only Pacific Island students at the school. That was up until Year 12, when I was blessed to make the acquaintance of my still good friend Catherine, a girl from the Solomon Islands. I first found out about her arrival when one of my friends burst through the common room doors and shouted: “There is someone here that’s blacker than you!” To this day, that comment still makes my stomach turn. Looking back now, I realise just how narrow minded some people can be when it comes to embracing people from various ethnic backgrounds.

I came to the University of Canterbury in 2014. Here, the Pacific Development Team welcomed me with open arms and a great deal of food. This was the first time in my life that I found a community of people that were willing to accept me for who I am and where I come from.

MahMah Timoteo (in the red t-shirt)
MahMah Timoteo (in the red t-shirt)

Today, I am proud to say that I identify as a Cook Islander and yes, sometimes it is a bit disheartening not being able to speak the language or understand certain cultural practices. Nevertheless, this is what Cook Islands Language Week is all about. It is about celebrating your Cook Islands identity, whilst also embracing the language and culture. But this week is not only for Pacific Islanders. This week is about exploring diversity from the hearts and minds of different people all over New Zealand. This week is an opportunity to educate people and learn from one another, to bring our future generation of children up to be accepting and tolerant of individuals from all walks of life and to avoid situations like my friend Catherine had to endure.

New Zealand is a beautiful and diverse place, take every opportunity you can to embrace this to its fullest. Be proud of who you are and where you come from and if you aren’t willing to embrace the language, at least embrace the food. It is no secret that food makes the world a better place, especially if you’re a Pacific Islander.