Julie Waitai - Bachelor of Applied Management

Learner Stories
25 June 2024
Julie Waitai

Julie Waitai is one of a group of Māori leaders from Downer who have graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Management from Capable NZ, as part of a groundbreaking initiative in partnership with Te Puni Kōkiri.

Te Whanake Timatanga provides a collaborative, indigenous model of education and the chance for learners to study as a cohort in a kaupapa Māori learning environment with Māori facilitators and Māori assessors.

Julie, a Contract Manager at Downer, had worked in management for many years but didn’t have a degree.

“I had always wanted to do more study, so this was the perfect opportunity,” she says.

Julie says her studies, which involved reflecting on her work and life experiences, increased her confidence in her own strengths and abilities as a leader.

“I now have a greater awareness about how my early life experiences, whānau and whakapapa have influenced my beliefs, behaviours and preferences,” she explains. “My studies confirmed the models of practice I have been using in the workplace, and opened up new ways of supporting growth, preserving relationships and building a greater team.”

She has high praise for Capable NZ’s facilitators, who work closely with learners to provide support, guidance and feedback.

“Our facilitators were amazing mana wāhine. My facilitator, Stacey, supported me through my studies, especially at times when I felt like giving up.”

Julie says she would encourage others to undertake Capable NZ study, noting that learners must be prepared to identify their strengths and areas for improvement. 

“For me, this has been an amazing journey of understanding who I am,” she says. “If you are like me and haven’t studied for a while, go back to the basics of how to write a sentence, then a paragraph and then an essay. Don’t fear asking for help or clarification from the facilitators. Having a study group or a study buddy can also be helpful.”

Julie’s future work aspirations are to continue to ground herself within her whakapapa and to seek out more opportunities to work with people.

“I have a passion for working with women and Māori, and I can see myself following this path,” she says. “I want to become fluent in te ao and te reo Māori, and to continue on with higher education.”