My name is Ngakopa Roberts, I am an 18 year old student who just graduated from Auckland Girls Grammar School. I have grown up in Auckland my whole life, living in both South and East Auckland but am from Tainui, Waikato and Ngāti Hine, Northland. When thinking about my future, I had always envisioned myself to study at university and was heavily encouraged to do so by my family members. During my time at high school, I attempted to take sciences but always gravitated towards english based subjects. This led me to think about what I would finally study, and talking to my aunty who had already studied law, I was convinced I would want to do the same. Although I’m still unsure if I would like to practice law, I know that this specific degree will help me with various skills, allowing me to branch off to many other areas. I found this very appealing because I have a variety of options to choose from studying only one degree.
Over the Summer break I have been working with the Research team at Waipareira before starting my law degree in 2019. I am grateful for this opportunity to be a student researcher at Waipareira because it is hugely influential on my future, giving me experience in analysis work and an introduction to aspects of what I may be studying at university. It also provides an opportunity to acquire experience in social interaction within communities, being exposed to issues which have effects throughout the West Auckland community. I am hoping to branch off into analysis work when I finish law, so the experience within the research team has highly contributed to my knowledge and exposure in this area.
Waipareira has also expanded my knowledge of Māori tikanga and Reo. I have enjoyed the integration and encouragement of Māori traditions and concepts practiced throughout Waipareira. An experience I particularly enjoyed was ‘Te Kauhau Ora’ training, a day where Waipareira’s code of conduct was broken down and explained. During this day I not only gained an understanding of the code of conduct but could associate ‘Te Kauhau Ora’ values with what we did at work. As explained by Rawiri Waititi, a pōhiri is relevant to the workforce because like the process of a pōhiri, we all have a part to play at work to accomplish an end result. I found this experience intriguing because we were able relate Māori concepts to the work we do daily, and interpret many words that I already knew in a different perspective.
Although I don’t live out West, working for Waipareira in the West Auckland community has really been an insightful journey. I have been very lucky to experience working on projects which truly make a difference in people’s lives in the West Auckland community, being involved in assisting kaumātua, rangatahi and whānau with the support and representation they need.