Ani Eparaima

“Open your mind to the possibilities,” she says. “Ma te mohio, ka mohio.”

Ani Eparaima

Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Māori Studies and Māori Resource Management

For Ani Eparaima, Te Herenga Waka Marae at Victoria University of Wellington’s Kelburn campus is her “home away from home”. She says it’s a place her family used to come to when she was younger and it’s where she heads in between lectures and tutorials to catch up on course work, hang out on the grass, have a cuppa and a chat, or enjoy some kai.

It’s just one of the ways in which Ani has felt supported during her time at university. Other support has come from Te Pūtahi Atawhai—a centre for Māori and Pasifika student success at Victoria University of Wellington—Te Kawa a Māui—the School of Māori Studies— and staff and classmates in the Tohu Māoritanga undergraduate diploma programme.

Ani says her first year at the University was great. “The Tohu programme was an eye-opening experience. It’s definitely worth making the transition regardless of your background as it will help move you out of your comfort zone and prepare you for what lies ahead. I initially looked at just studying Commerce, but I’m now majoring in Māori Studies and Māori Resource Management.”

Studying, says Ani, has helped her “to accept what I know, to challenge what I know, and to be wary of what I thought I knew”.

And when things get hard, Ani advises looking on the bright side. “Laugh about it and it will help you move on. Hook up with some mates that will support you.” She says using the facilities in the Recreation Centre gym is also a good thing—though not essential given the Kelburn campus’ hillside site.

As for the future, Ani wants to share her knowledge with others, pursue further study and encourage others to look at the option of attending university.

She says the University's Know Your Mind catchphrase has special meaning. “Open your mind to the possibilities,” she says. “Mā te mōhio, ka mōhio.”