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Celebrating our faces of Wintec

At Wintec, we proudly celebrate our students' success. Here you will find the real-life stories of our students; the journeys they have taken to get here, their motivations, and their aspirations. As well as reading each student's story, you can also explore their subject area by clicking on the buttons below. 

Braden, Applied Science

I went to uni straight out of school and completed a degree in statistics. I knew I didn’t want to work in that long-term, so I looked at my options and found the Bachelor of Applied Science at Wintec. It has specialisations in agriculture, biotechnology, and environmental science so had plenty of options. I wasn’t sure which of those I was going to pursue initially, but my tutors help me find my path along the way. I am now sure I want to pursue food technology as my career path. Food technologists research and develop food and drinks. How could you not love the idea of getting paid to eat food as part of your job! For anyone out there who is considering the leap into studying, don’t be scared. Just do it! 

Charlene, Nursing

Taking on studying as a single mum of four isn’t easy, and the pressure can feel overwhelming at times.  But I wanted to get a degree that will offer me security long-term. Nursing felt right– I have always been a people person - if I can do just one thing that makes a difference to someone's day, I'm all about that.  I had been working in mental health, and my colleagues encouraged me to take the leap. Not having undertaken any study before entering the Bachelor of Nursing degree, I decided to do Te Are Pūtake Foundation Studies course – it was an awesome introduction and really set the right path to enter the degree with confidence. I dream of one day becoming a paediatric nurse - kids are super resilient and so much fun to work with. If you are passionate enough and can commit yourself to your studies, this is an awesome experience.

Eady, Applied Science

I’m what they call a ‘mature student’ in education circles. I’ve worn many hats before landing here at Wintec – training as an auto mechanic, playing professional rugby, and working for Fonterra. My love of science, and what it provides has bought me here. My ambition is to teach others about organic farming, and how they can source kai from the land. I’m also currently working on a carbon negative farm project, and my studies help me gain invaluable knowledge in this space.  It’s not always easy juggling the commute from Te Kuiti, running a business, and providing for my family with the demands of study. However, my own family members were incredible role models involved in tertiary education, and I am determined to continue their legacy by developing the scientific knowledge of current and future generations.

Holly, Sport and Exercise Science

It’s important that you study something you are interested in, not just something you think you should do. Straight out of school, I wasn’t ready to study – I worked and travelled while I figured out what I wanted to do. I love sport and have been involved with it all my life, particularly water polo and swimming (I went to the World Champs in 2014), so it’s not surprising I have ended up here. I had heard great things about Wintec, particularly about how hands-on it was and how the facilities were great, so that made my decision easier. I started off studying a certificate, and my lecturers encouraged me to continue on. I am now completing a degree in Sport and Exercise Science. Right now, I am happy studying and working part-time in a gym. Long term, my dream is to become a police dog handler. While it’s not directly related to what I am studying, I think there are a lot of skills and knowledge in my degree which will benefit me should I take that path in the future.

Immaculee, English Language 

I originally come from the Congo but spent most of my life growing up in a refugee camp in Rwanda.  In 2019, I moved to New Zealand with my family. While I speak several languages, before I came to New Zealand, I couldn’t speak much English at all. Some friends of mine moved to Wintec to study English after previously studying elsewhere and convinced me it was a great place to study. So, I made a move too, and I am very happy here. I am now in my second year of studying English. Studying is busy – I have five younger siblings who I look after regularly. But I want to continue studying. I want to complete further levels of English study, and my long-term dream is to become a nurse.

Jesse, Physiotherapy 

Born and raised in Frankton in Hamilton, I am of Waikato, Maniapoto and Tuhoe descent. I am a husband, a dad of two, and for the past two years a student at Wintec. Before this, I spent 13 years working at the meatworks. I started my Wintec journey with the Te Ara Pūtake pathway course, which helped me get back into the swing of study. Now I’m studying towards a Bachelor of Physiotherapy. The delivery of the course and vision of having practitioners who are more culturally responsive towards Māori was a big drawcard for me. I believe Wintec is heading in the right direction in improving health disparities within Māori and rural communities in Aotearoa. My ambition is to give back to the community – perhaps with a clinic where I can reach out to Māori/rural communities to make health care more accessible for them. 

Malia, Performing Arts

I had always thought I was going to be a secondary school teacher. But when a teacher who knew about my passion for performing told me about the new performing arts qualification as part of the School of Media Arts at Wintec, I decided to check it out. Of course, we have written assessments, but the course structure and hands-on approach fit more with my style of learning. Once I finish my degree, I want to perform in musicals, television shows, and hopefully movies. I am so grateful Wintec offers this course that enables me to fulfil a career in a field I am so passionate about. 

Merlin, Arboriculture

Before starting at Wintec at age 26, I worked professionally in theatre and also trained as a scuba instructor. I started working towards an apprenticeship in arboriculture in Wellington - I loved the stability it provided me. Still, I struggled to get the theoretical training that I needed. I had heard Wintec was one of the best places in NZ to study to become an arborist, so I moved to Hamilton, and am now in my third year completing Level 6. Wintec feels like home, and there are a lot of things I like about studying here. The experience of all our tutors combined is awesome – I feel like I am in the best place in the country to study arboriculture. The toughest thing for me is writing essays properly - sometimes I get carried away in written assignments! I found my grades have been way better than at high school. If school isn't working for you, don't hesitate to consider polytech. I can see there are so many options laid out in front of me for the future.

Olivia, Applied Management

I grew up in Huntly. Coming from a lower socioeconomic area can come with some stigma about your abilities, but I’ve always been determined to rise above that. While finishing school, I applied for the KPMG School Leaver programme. Accounting was my favourite subject at school. While I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, it seemed like a good option for me. I now work full-time while studying towards the Bachelor of Applied Management in Accounting (CAANZ). Wintec was a logical choice for me. Being based in the city is very convenient as I can get to my classes quickly after work. The smaller classroom structure works for me – it was an easy transition from school. The flexibility of being able to study part-time as well as work makes this all possible. Sometimes balancing the two can be overwhelming, but I keep my eye on the future - I want to be the CFO of a or large multinational or a partner in a leading accountancy firm, and I am determined to fulfil my goals.

Raiha, Beauty Therapy

I come from the Chatham Islands. There is no high school there which means kids are sent to the mainland to complete their schooling. So I moved to Hamilton with my three children, so that I could be with them while they finish school. I’ve been a full-time mum for nearly twenty years. Studying again is a big change, but I love being back in the classroom. Where I come from, there are no beauty services for women – I am determined to change that. Long term, my dream is to set up a home-based salon back in the Chathams to provide beauty services to the locals. 

Rewa, Applied Information Technology

I left school at 16 and didn’t think I had the qualifications to get into many courses, so I studied travel and tourism. After being unemployed for a while, I needed to find something to help me get a job. Wintec offered an entry-level computing course, so I started with that, later progressing to a diploma. I was enjoying studying, so I just kept going and ended up in the Bachelor of Applied IT degree programme. Now I am in my third and final year with a focus on software engineering. 

I am currently working part-time for a charity that develops mental and wellbeing apps. It's definitely the kind of work I want to pursue in the future. I am also volunteering at Wintec as a tuakana – which is a support person for first-year students. Wintec has changed my life – it's going to be hard to leave.

Sarah, Trades

I left school in 2015 and worked in retail – I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was born in New Zealand but grew up in the USA. When my sister decided to move back to New Zealand to study, I decided to explore my options also. I was always creative when I was young – I did a lot of art and sculpture at school. Dad suggested I could use my creativity and love for hands-on work to use within a trade. He suggested welding because of my passion for sculpture. Long term I want to be an artist, using the skills I have developed in metal welding. For now, I am happy working in fabrication. I was awarded the top prize in my Mechanical Engineering class last year, and in my apprenticeship, I was the only female ever hired outside of the admin office. I am really proud of my achievements. 

Seraya, Foundation Studies/Midwifery

I always loved the idea of being a midwife but never thought it was achievable because I didn’t like school and left when I was 15. I worked in hospitality for a few years but found myself drawn back to my dream of becoming a midwife. I didn’t have my NCEA Level 2 to get in, so I completed the Te Ara Pūtake course. It’s a foundation course at Wintec that helps you get what you need to step into the course you want to do if you don’t meet the entry criteria. I did this over the summer and then went straight into the Bachelor of Midwifery degree. Looking forward, I am excited about working with wāhine and whānau to help empower them through their childbearing journey. 

Stacey, Midwifery

It’s probably not surprising that I pursued midwifery – my mum is a midwife and with four children of my own, I’ve had a lot of experience with babies! Having a career I am passionate about is important to me, and I want to be a good role model for my family. I am fortunate, being based in Hawkes Bay, that Wintec has a hub there. This means I only travel to Hamilton 11 weeks of the year and can balance my family life with my study. It hasn’t always been easy, and due to my children’s health, I have had to take time out, but I am determined to complete my degree and make an impact. My ambition is to specialise in Māori health and take care of women, babies, and their whanau in my community.

Tipene, Bachelor of Social Work

I have known for a long time that I wanted to work in a field where I could help youth. I was lucky to have a sports coach who was a social worker – he inspired me to consider it as a career path. Both his influence and the loss of my friend when I was younger were driving influences on my career choice. Having attended counselling myself, I got a good understanding of what the area of social practice involves. I could see there was a great opportunity to help people in difficult circumstances improve their lives, and I wanted to be part of that. In the future, I want to help and inspire kids at school with both their academic and sporting pursuits.

Zinab, Engineering Technology

Education is very important for me and my family, I always knew that I wanted to push myself to exceed my knowledge as much as possible.  After leaving high school, I attended university to study a different degree, but I realised that it wasn’t my passion, so I decided to get into engineering instead. Engineering is about real-life application, not just theory - I knew Wintec offered that style of learning, so I felt that it was the perfect fit for me. I decided to specialise in water and wastewater after getting some experience in the industry, I was able to see the importance of planning, design and operation of water systems and how significant this role is for the community.