Māori student, Alexia Williams, is reaching her aspirations in education and employment with New Zealand School of Tourism, a Category One UP Education provider.
Fitting her studies around motherhood and full-time work, Alexia says NZST provided her with what she needed to succeed in education by stepping away from the traditional one-size-fits-all model.
After completing her studies, Alexia reflects on what’s required across all of education to support other Māori students to thrive:
“Education providers need to understand that many Māori do not see the world in the same way that many Pākehā do. This is reflected in the way a lot of Kiwis approach tertiary education and training, which made NZST’s approach a great fit,” says Alexia.
“The system is afraid to embrace differences and demands conformity. This can hinder Māori learners, who are aiming to achieve their own personal definition of success, not a Pākehā construct of it.”
“Integrating more of a noho marae approach into the curriculum would help deliver more cultural authenticity into education programmes – benefitting both tangata whenua and non-Māori students to gain a better understanding of our culture.”
“Since graduating in 2021, I’m currently undertaking a paid internship with the Florida Ritz Carlton Hotel. But when I get back to Aotearoa, I want to give back to the community and mentor other young Māori to achieve their dreams.”
Image: Alexia Williams advocating for Māori learners at Shifting the Dial, held at the Ministry of Education.