Recent graduate Amiria Reid’s (Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-a-Kai) love for her whakapapa, community and environment motivated her to do a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Canterbury and led her to a fulfilling job.
With a major in Tourism, Marketing and Management and a minor in te reo Māori, Amiria sees the tourism industry as a platform to tell the stories of tangata whenua, and an opportunity to preserve the history of our tūpuna (ancestors).
“The story of tangata whenua (Māori) and how we treat the whenua as a living entity, how we value conservation and guardianship, should be shared worldwide,” Amiria says.
Amiria had heard students’ testimonies of their great experiences studying commerce, but the new major in Tourism, Marketing and Management was an unfamiliar area of study, and something she found “really fascinating”.
Tourism, Marketing and Management students adapt and learn while engaging in group work, independent research and practical skills like event management.
“I found it particularly interesting studying tourism during the Covid pandemic. I refocused my research on identifying new initiatives that could help the industry with the current challenges. Although my studies took an unexpected turn, I learnt how adaptable and resilient the industry can be.”
Amiria says the Māori Development team were an integral part of the journey toward completing her tohu mātauranga (degree): “There is a whānau, a hapori (community) in the department committed to supporting your career aspirations and success.”
As a tuākana mentor and tutor, Amiria also helped high school students bridge the gap between school and university. Opportunities she says have helped develop her networking and interpersonal skills needed for her role as Marketing Coordinator for Te Matakīrea, the Indigenous Design Unit at Warren and Mahoney Architects.
In her first year at UC, Amiria joined Te Akatoki Māori Students Association as recruitment officer and secretary. The roles took her around Aotearoa representing tauira Māori, performing kapa haka, connecting with other tauira Māori, and speaking on issues Māori face in the tertiary space.
“In the association, I made strong hononga (connections), found my voice as a wahine Māori, and gained a supportive community to help me find my feet in the University,” she says.
“Nōku te whiwhi, I am fortunate to have been provided the opportunity to study, develop and strengthen my knowledge base and build long lasting connections in an uplifting learning environment.”
“My role at Warren and Mahoney is to coordinate the Advanced Indigenous Design Unit. This involves supporting the Te Matakīrea Lead, understanding co-design principles and iwi engagement strategies, as well as networking and connecting our Māori and indigenous members across all studios.
“Every day, my work also involves promotion and advocacy for te reo Māori and helping our studio members build their cultural competency,” she says.