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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. 
Andrew, Wintec electrical engineering student

Andrew's story

I was born in Auckland and grew up on a farm in South Auckland, where I was homeschooled for my entire education. I am of Ngāti Māhanga descent, and my marae is Te Papa-o-Rotu. My past work experience was nearly seven years as an audiovisual technician. However, after losing my job due to Covid, I started work at my local supermarket delivering groceries around the local community during the lockdown. Once things started getting back to normal, I knew that I needed to figure out what to do next. I needed a secure future for my wife and me. A trade qualification seemed like a great option. It meant I could take advantage of the Government’s Targeted Trades Apprenticeship Fund, which means specific courses are fees-free. I chose Wintec, as commuting from South Auckland, the trip to Hamilton has a lot less traffic than if I tried to drive into Auckland each day. I am studying the Electrical Engineering Level 6 programme at the Rotokauri Campus. It has some similarities to my previous work, so it could be relevant if I ever want to get back into the industry. But it also means I can continue down the path of being an electrical engineer in the future, which is another option. I am not sure of what the future holds for me. But for now, I am enjoying getting some more experience and qualifications under my belt.

Bernadette, Wintec science student

Bernadette's story

I worked previously as a Histopathologist at Waikato Hospital. However, living in South Waikato, it was too far to travel to Hamilton each day. Instead, I worked in various jobs, including owning a rural delivery business and working at a café. My desire to work in a science-related field was still very strong, so I finally took the leap to go back to study. Being a mature student with minimal computer skills, I was apprehensive about using technology in my studies. However, as I started writing assignments and receiving good grades for my efforts, I was motivated to continue. I love the variation, and practical application in my studies – the knowledge I continue to gain has made me very excited about my future. If I wasn't studying, I would probably still be working in a local cafe with no mental stimulus, which would have been a missed opportunity for me. I'm incredibly proud of myself for overcoming many challenges in my first year of study. This motivated me to undertake a further year of study. I am eternally grateful for the help I have received from fellow students and tutors. The staff are very motivated to see their students succeed. I would definitely encourage any person, young or old, to consider studying at Wintec. I would not change a thing, but I wish I had done this years ago when the idea first entered my head. This has been a fantastic learning experience for me. My eyes have been opened, and I am excited to keep learning. 

Bethany, Wintec applied management, marketing student

Bethany's story

I was born and raised in Cornwall, a county at the south-westerly point of the United Kingdom surrounded by great beaches and the countryside. I identify as Cornish Celtic, a minority group in the UK, and I am very proud of my heritage. After finishing school, I came to New Zealand for a gap year, where I worked in a boarding school in Hamilton. I had a university lined up for my return home. However, my desire to stay in New Zealand remained. I chose Wintec because it seemed a friendly place. It offered the Bachelor of Applied Management, and I could specialise in marketing, something I had dreamt of pursuing since school. Marketing enables me to bring together the worlds of creativity and business.  It also provides a raft of possibilities – you can go into many fields, which is very exciting. I want to have the chance to be creative or hands-on and use my skills to make a positive impact through the visual design process and campaign development. Being away from home and my family has been difficult. It is especially tough during Covid times, as my family has not been able to visit. However, it has all been worthwhile. It has surprised me how my confidence has grown in my written work. I am excited by my new knowledge and perspectives and my ability to present to and engage others. What I value at Wintec is that you are never treated as just a number. You feel valued as an individual. The study is full of real-world scenarios and practical application. You get more than just theory from a textbook, but the ability to use it and work with it in practice. I would encourage anyone interested to throw themselves into this experience. While it may sound cliché, the more you put into this, the more you will get out of it.
At Wintec, you are never treated as just a number.

Braden, Wintec science student

Braden's story

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 helped 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, Wintec nursing student

Charlene's story

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 Ara 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.

Delwyn, Wintec spatial design student

Delwyn's story

I studied graphic design at Wintec (then known as Waikato Polytechnic) back in 1989. After working in design studios and advertising agencies, I returned to Kaihere, on the Hauraki Plains, where I was born and raised. After many years of raising my family, rearing calves, and continuing to work in design within my local community, I decided to pursue the spatial design qualification offered by the School of Media Arts at Wintec. My ambition is to combine my background and experience in graphics with the skills and knowledge I acquire by studying spatial design. I want to work either in a multi-discipline design studio or with commercial architects. My main concern coming into this was that I would spend three years in study, with no guarantee of the right job in the end. I am not a fan of the term ‘mature student’, and the fear that employers might judge me by my age was in the back of my mind. However, I knew this was the right move for me when I discovered a newfound energy as I embarked on my studies. I felt excited by what I was learning - I loved being around others who shared my passion, and having great tutors enthused about helping me. The fact that the course is designed to get us industry-ready is a huge plus. It’s focused on giving us the skills needed to be an asset to any employer straight off the bat. I also love that it allows me to be original and express my individual design aesthetic within the assessments I complete. My absolute highlight has been topping my class in my first year. I’m glad I didn’t put off studying now to do what I love in the long term.

Dexter, Wintec sport and exercise science student

Dexter's story

I was born in Zimbabwe, Africa, but grew up in New Zealand. My ambition is to work as a personal trainer. Friends suggested that Wintec would be a great place for me to pursue this dream. I make music, cut hair, and dance – but I have realised the difference between hobbies, passions, and a genuine career path. Studying sport and exercise science allows me to forge a career in something that I really care about. But it also gives me more future security than some of my other pursuits. I enjoy the way we learn at Wintec. I feel the tutors are very creative in how they bring to life the learning for their students, which works well for me. Studying is challenging. I am proud of the way I have stayed on track, continually pushing myself to complete my tests and assignments. I am looking forward to travelling the world and inspiring people to grow, get stronger, healthier, and be their best selves.
The tutors are very creative in how they bring to life the learning for students.

Dujon, Wintec innovation student

Dujon's story

I’m a second-generation Kiwi – Dad is Jamaican, Scottish; Mum is European. Growing up in the Te Rapa hood, I started dancing at age 12. After a few years, I was thrust into an intersection of arts, community, youth, and events. This has been my focus ever since. I work as a community advisor at a local council. I am currently on secondment at a local organisation as a co-design and engagement specialist for a youth facility build. I learned about the Design Factory NZ at Wintec through some regional development work and community sector projects with which I was involved. I was sold on the content of the innovation programme – the relevance it had to my role and responsibilities. My study is having a real and tangible effect on my work. While I haven’t yet finished, what I am learning is already helping me maximise opportunities and apply fresh approaches to complex social problems and aspirations. The programme has allowed me to carve out a niche for myself and set new goals around social innovation and people-centred design. The way the world is going, we need more problem-solvers and action-oriented thinkers across many spaces. Regardless of your speciality or expertise, the skills and tools learned through this programme will enable you to adapt and influence your space. I feel that between my work and studies, I'm living my best life.

Eady, Wintec science student

Eady's story

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.

Finlee, Wintec communiscations student

Finlee's story

I grew up all around Hamilton through my childhood and completed my high school years in Waihi. Once I left school, I was keen to get back to the city to study. Memorising exam answers never worked for me, and I didn’t want to learn at a place with an exam culture. So Wintec, with its focus on hands-on learning, and practical assignments, seemed the right place for me. I’ve met some awesome people here and experienced a lot of cool stuff.
Some of the debates and discussions I’ve been part of in-class have strongly influenced how I think about media and its place in our culture. I’m not just learning things for the sake of it – I am growing as a person. I was surprised by the range of disciplines our course covers, like videography, photography, journalism, and digital marketing. Outside of the core course modules, there are other electives you can take. For example, I have studied painting, graphic design, and website design. At the same time, I know other classmates have done papers like journalism and law. I want to continue developing my abilities and thinking as a creative person. I’ve been working hard to improve my illustration skills while also learning things about social media management and design. I’m hopeful I can use all these skills in a future workplace. 

Grayson, Wintec early childhood education and innovation student

Grayson's story

Hamilton-born and raised, I am of European and Samoan descent. My grandfather was from a village called Lauli’i on the island of Upolu. He always showed enormous love and respect for people, something he instilled in me. My focus on education came from my dad, who inspired me to study. I originally started my tertiary journey at uni – but I wasn’t ready and pulled out. Instead, I completed a diploma in business; however, once in the workforce, I realised the business world wasn’t the best place for me to thrive.

I worked in an early childhood centre and quickly realised how much joy it bought me. Encouraged by my manager, I completed the Bachelor in Teaching (Early Childhood Education) degree at Wintec. Enjoying my studies, I continued straight into the Postgraduate Certificate in Innovation, and I am now completing the Master of Applied Innovation programme. I want to take my postgraduate and master’s studies and apply the additional skills and knowledge I am gaining to help solve real-world problems within an early childhood education context. Wintec offers a very personal level of support and care for its students. My tutors enabled me to find my mana. My personal goal is to encourage and empower other men to reawaken theirs. I believe men all have a kind, caring, and nurturing capacity within them. I would love for them to realise this and see early childhood education as a place where they can have a fundamental influence on the lives of others. Early childhood education is wonderful and meaningful work. There is nothing more rewarding than becoming engrained in the growth and development of our next generation. 

Holly, Wintec sport and exercise science student

Holly's story

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's story

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, Wintec physiotherapy student

Jesse's story

Born and raised in Frankton in Hamilton, I am of Waikato, Maniapoto and Tūhoe 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. 

Jessie, Wintec early childhood education student

Jessie's story

I was born and raised in Papua New Guinea in the capital city of Port Moresby. Growing up back in the islands surrounded by my cousins, we would often take care of each other. I always felt passionate about taking care of those younger than me, especially the babies.  After high school, I worked full-time at a restaurant as a cook. Then, in 2018 I became a mama to a beautiful little girl, and that is when, despite being a solo mother, I gathered the courage to study. I finished a Level 3 Certificate in Early Childhood Education at another institute. I then applied to Wintec to study my degree. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I want to be a better person than I was yesterday. I want to grow, build and expand in knowledge and wisdom that I can, then use this to equip and pass on to the next generation. As a mother, I want to be a great role model for my daughter and prove that it is never too late to pursue your dreams and be the person you have always wanted to be. My dream is to become a qualified, registered early childhood teacher working in a centre. I have built some amazing friendships, expanded my knowledge about early childhood, and have achieved all my assessments so far. I have the best support system from both my lecturers and classmates. I can honestly say that it is going to be an experience I know I will cherish forever. There is no better time than now. Life is way too short to be second-guessing yourself. So go get that degree, and unlock potential that you did not know you had.

Jordan, Wintec business and applied management student

Jordan's story

I was born and raised in Hamilton and came straight to Wintec after high school. But my journey has not been a linear one. In 2019, I came to Wintec to study electrical engineering at the Rotokauri Campus. I then spent a semester at uni continuing my engineering studies. I decided that path wasn’t for me – and came back to Wintec, initially studying the Business 5 diploma course before moving into the Bachelor of Applied Management degree. I chose Wintec, because having experienced various types of tertiary learning, I knew I could access more one-on-one opportunities with the tutors. It’s a friendly and social place and a supportive environment where you can get the help you need to succeed. My personal goal is to provide for my family while doing something that I enjoy and challenges me. I want to work in New Zealand’s financial sector in investing or accounting. While I have changed direction a few times, I don’t regret any of the decisions I have made to date. Where I am now is the result of all the steps I have taken so far, and it makes me all the more sure I am doing the right thing for me.

Kahoki, Wintec culinary arts student

Kahoki's story

I’m from Ngāti Hauā and Ngāti Tamaterā, Tainui is my waka. Born in Hamilton, I grew up in Manurewa, Auckland. Before Wintec, I worked as a Kaiāwhina at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, helping teach adults Te Reo Māori. I came to the realisation I needed to study when I was sitting at my desk, marking assessment papers. I felt too young to be seated behind a desk for hours on end. Mum had been a chef for the army. She told me that I was already good at cooking, so it would be wise to leverage my skills. So I took the step to study culinary arts at Wintec. I want to be a fully realised chef by the end of the course. My dream is to take over mum’s catering business and expand upon it after I graduate. Wintec has a big family vibe that I can connect with; it’s nice to meet new people and form new friendships. The curriculum is good, and the tutors are inspiring. If cooking is your passion, pursue what makes you happy and put maximum effort in. If there is one thing I could have done differently, it would have been starting this journey at Wintec earlier!  

Katrina, Wintec landscape design student

Katrina's story

The location of the Wintec horticulture campus at the Hamilton Gardens was a big drawcard for me. Having worked in the industry with my own business for 17 years, I appreciate the incredible environment at the Gardens. My background is in horticulture, which I studied previously. However, I wanted to gain a qualification in landscape design specifically. After Covid struck, I could no longer travel to the UK to be part of a planting team at the Chelsea Garden Show. So I thought it would be a great time to embark on this dream and be around like-minded people. Being in a class with others who are interested in plants and design is awesome. My life is pretty hectic with my business, staff, family, and other commitments. However, my ambition is to continue to design beautiful outdoor spaces for my clients. I know my studies will take me to the next level, so I don’t regret taking on this additional commitment despite my busy life. To anyone considering pursuing their study or career dreams, I would say, “don’t put studying off - I am 50, and wish I had studied earlier!”.

Lauren, Wintec nursing student

Lauren's story

I grew up in Whangarei with my mum, stepdad and six sisters. After attending a rural area school, I went to university down south, where I studied physiology. After completing my first degree, I chose to come to Wintec, as it offers the Master of Nursing Science qualification. This enabled me to use my previous degree as a pathway into nursing, which means it only takes two years of study to gain a nursing qualification. This course has allowed me to combine two of my passions, science and helping others. My dream is to become a registered nurse working in primary health back in Northland. I want to give back to the community where I grew up. Being in the Master of Nursing Science programme has meant being in a much smaller class than what I was used to in Dunedin. This has so many advantages. I have been able to build great relationships with both classmates and tutors in such a supportive environment. I can really get the most out of my study! As soon as I went on my first placement, I knew I had picked the right career path for me. It was where all of the theory I spent hours studying fell into place, and I felt like I had found my niche. I have family and friends who work as nurses. Seeing them excel in their careers and be passionate about their jobs inspires me to chase this dream and find a career that I know I will love doing. Sometimes finding the perfect balance can be challenging. There is a lot to fit in with studying full-time, working part-time and spending time with family and friends. I spend a lot of time planning, organising and prioritising, but it is worth it!

Liam, Wintec design student

Liam's story

My family emigrated from South Africa before I was born, but the Waikato has always been home to me. After I finished high school, I worked locally for a few years. It was the best move for me. Some people feel pressure to jump straight into studying after school, but I think it’s wise to catch your breath first if you are unsure of which path to take. Wintec was recommended to me by a friend who had studied media arts here. We have similar interests, and they couldn’t stress enough how great it was. I always knew my future would involve creativity of some sort. Nowadays, I feel the possibilities are endless. While it was daunting initially, I knew that I was in the right place from day one. The people alone proved this, both the students and the tutors. Every day I am surrounded by like-minded people who are passionate and caring, which has ensured I always put my best work forward. I have received so much guidance and support. It’s hard to say what I would be doing if I wasn’t studying right now. What I do know is that this decision has changed the way I view the world. It’s opened doors and directions for my future, and I would encourage anyone interested in design to take the risk. Between what I’ve learnt, the experiences I’ve had, and the people I’ve met—I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Malia, Wintec music and performing arts student

Malia's story

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. 

Maryam, Wintec Architectural technology student

Maryam's story

I was born and grew up in Iran, immigrating to New Zealand in 2014. I dreamed of studying architecture since I was a teenager. However, as a top student, my teachers and family encouraged me to study electronics engineering. I knew I wouldn’t like it as it didn’t match my spirit, but I pursued it regardless. Every day going to university, I visited the architecture faculty in my breaks, feeling deep regret. This regret was with me for more than 25 years, as I worked in telecommunications in Iran and then later in related industries in New Zealand. In 2018, a friend suggested I pursue architectural drafting. She sparked an idea in my mind that I needed to take that step towards my life-long dream. I connected with the relevant people at Wintec, who directed me towards my diploma. The journey has not been one without fear or stress. Studying in a foreign language is challenging. I am also a mum of two teenagers, so I have to balance family life and a job on top of my studies. Fortunately, as there are two streams of this course, I have adapted my timetable to ensure I can make it to all my classes! I think the best thing about my study is that it is practical. It means I won’t just get my diploma - I will know what happens in the industry.  All the assignments we do are a sample of the work we will do in the workplace in the future. Before starting this course, I thought it was too late for me to start studying from scratch. But I realise now that here at Wintec, the students are of all ages. You are never too old to learn and experience.

Merlin, Wintec Arboriculture student

Merlin's story

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.

Mikimiki, Wintec early childhood education student

Mikimiki's story

I was born in the Cook Islands but grew up in Auckland and later moved to Tokoroa. I descend from Penryhn, also known as Tongareva. In 2016, I started work for Te Ara Metua Punanga Reo Kuki Airani. Te Punanga provides an environment for tamariki in Tokoroa to learn and grow within a Cook Island Māori environment. It supports the Cook Island language, culture, and identity. After working in this environment for several years, I decided to gain my degree in Early Childhood Education to further my knowledge. Many factors contribute to my aspirations to become a fully qualified teacher. One, in particular, is to make a difference and have a positive impact on children’s lives. I am also passionate about bicultural learning, and I feel the set-up at Wintec really supports this. I’m thrilled that I was voted to be a student rep – I love to be a voice for my peers. While the trek from Tokoroa each day is long, it's definitely worth what I am gaining from my studies.

Olivia's story

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.

Peony, Wintec IT student

Peony's story

I am Peony Smith. My iwi is Ngāti Tūwharetoa, and Hamilton has always been home to me. After finishing high school, I went straight to uni to study computer science. The environment there wasn’t the right fit for me, and after my first year, I felt drained. I left and got a job in retail, working my way up to become a manager and junior buyer, which I loved. However, when Covid hit, I had time to consider my future options. I knew software engineering was what I wanted to do, so I decided to try a degree in IT again, but this time at Wintec. I am so happy I made this move. The environment isn’t at all intimidating, and I’ve met some great people in my course. My peers are very supportive, and there are some great tutors. I enjoy my coding papers the most; I love building a piece of code and seeing the end outcome. My first goal, once I graduate, is to become an advocate for women in the IT industry. Back in high school, I was very confused about what to do with my future. I wish there had been more focus on IT subjects to encourage girls to pursue this field. Longer-term, my ambition is to use my programming skills in the field of mental health. I want to work within an IT team that helps to make mental health services more affordable and easier to access. Anyone looking to study IT should consider the Wintec Bachelor of Applied Information Technology. It's such a great course to learn the basics within the IT world. If you don’t know what direction you want to take, you will soon work this out once you are in there. Don’t be scared; IT is the future!

Raiha, Wintec beauty therapy services

Raiha's story

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. 

Rakshanda, Wintec culinary arts student

Rakshanda's story

I was born and raised in India - a country where education is held in high regard. My parents always pushed me to succeed in my studies. I came to New Zealand in November 2019 for a hotel management internship in Queenstown, having studied that for several years back home. Initially, I planned to stay for just six months. Then the pandemic hit, and I got stuck. So I decided to study at Wintec, which was recommended to me by a close mentor here. I have always been really passionate about cooking. My dream is to be a super amazing chef – and to create food for the soul. My course is very challenging, but is loads of fun. I love being in the kitchen learning new skills, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone to do and learn at a higher level. It’s been tough getting accustomed to the local way of life and familiarising myself with the local produce and cooking techniques here. I have been surprised at the amazing education experience at Wintec. The style of teaching and learning is different from what I am used to and far better than anything else I have ever experienced. The tutors really care and look after every student to ensure they are thriving mentally and doing the best job they can. When I studied in India, it was very traditional and stressed me out. Here at Wintec, while there is definitely theory, practical knowledge is where the focus is. I get to do what I like the most, which is cool - not just drown myself in theory and books. I wouldn't change anything about where I am right now. I have loved and cherished my journey to Wintec and am very happy here.

Rewa, Wintec IT student

Rewa's story

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.

Saba, Wintec nursing student

Saba's story

I was born in India, grew up in New Zealand from a young age, and lived both locally and abroad over the years. I came to Wintec looking for a change in my career path. My original degree was in science, but I have most recently worked as a stock controller for a bicycle company. However, I always wanted to be a part of the healthcare system – it was always on my mind. Now I am on the path to being my best self. So much has changed in my life since the first time I studied. I'm married; I have a house, a daughter, a dog – I'm busy being an "adulty" adult. With many responsibilities that weren't there when I first graduated at 22, there was a lot to consider before leaping back into study. Luckily, I have a fantastic support system surrounding me. Throughout my studies, the small achievements have felt just as rewarding as the big ones. Whether it's passing assignments, doing well during placements, or achieving care outcomes for my patients, it all adds to a sense of satisfaction. I am also amazed at just how much I have learned. I would recommend it to anyone considering retraining to be a nurse or to become anything  – just do it!

Seraya, Wintec foundation studies and midwifery student

Seraya's story

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, Wintec midwifery student

Stacey's story

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.

Tanentoa, Wintec English language student

Tanentoa's story

I came to New Zealand in 2019 after my oldest sister and her husband adopted me. My native language is Kiribati. I went to school in Kiribati from primary to college, and all the subjects were taught in our Kiribati language. When I arrived in New Zealand, I tried to apply for a job. I went to job interviews. Still, I never get the job because my understanding of English was very little. My sister asked around the community for an English course and someone recommended Wintec. I am so glad I chose to study with Wintec because the environment feels very safe and good. The teachers are very supportive and patient. It makes me want to work hard with my studies to achieve my future goal of becoming a Police officer. Studying English at Wintec provides me with a future pathway. It gives me the confidence to communicate with my peers and everyone I meet along my journey.

Tamaru, Wintec early childhood education student

Tamaru's story

While I have lived in South Waikato for a long time, I original hail from Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. I am of Cook Island Māori, Tahitian and Niuean descent. Since I was young, I have been surrounded by children and have always loved caring for them. What started as a school holiday job at a child centre became permanent in 2015. I have been there ever since. Caring for children has been a big part of my life to date, and I am certain it is also my future. In 2021, I took the leap and embarked on my degree in Early Childhood Education at Wintec. I decided it was time to take the step to become fully qualified. I love the vibe at Wintec - the support system has been nothing but amazing. I have chosen Wintec to learn to gain more knowledge and understanding because my voice matters. I feel safe, comfortable and like I have a sense of belonging here. To anyone thinking about studying at Wintec, do not doubt yourself and do not hold back from achieving what you want. Make it happen by chasing it through hard work - this is your time to shine.

Tipene, Wintec social work student

Tipene's story

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, Wintec engineering student

Zinab's story

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.

William, Wintec trades student

William's story

I was born and raised in Suva, Fiji, and moved out to New Zealand in 2014. I have a lot of Fijian family here in New Zealand, who are plumbers and builders, so moving into trades was a logical move for me. However, I owe a lot to a great teacher in high school, Mr Wong, who helped guide me to Wintec. It’s fair to say I wasn’t the best-behaved student, and school wasn’t a great fit for me. Mr Wong recognised that I was a practical, hands-on learner and knew what type of environment would suit me best.  I am so pleased that he encouraged me to study at Wintec and I have no regrets about it. I really like the sense of whānau in the class -  it’s been an eye-opener and a great experience that has broadened my mind about different cultures and perspectives. The tutors are always helpful and give you good one-on-one teaching that really helps you build skills and confidence. I love the sense of achievement of being able to build and create things. Once I finish my pre-trade study at Wintec, my next step is to complete my building apprenticeship at the NZ Army. I am really excited about my future in construction and the army, and I feel like Wintec has been a great stepping stone to get there.