Kristina Paehua - Bachelor of Applied Management

Learner Stories
17 April 2024
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Capable NZ study enabled Kristina Paehua to rediscover her love of learning and reignited her belief in herself, after traumatic experiences impacted her earlier education.

The Ministry of Social Development Case Manager has since gained her Bachelor of Applied Management with Distinction.

“Somewhere buried under all my self-doubt was success I could not fathom,” she says. “I’m now excited to watch my own management career unfold, while encouraging and showing my children to do the same by being a positive role model.”

Kristina comes from a background of deep intergenerational trauma and was an ‘independent youth’ supported by the government by the age of 16.

“My education was heavily disrupted throughout my whole life. As a high school dropout, I had no previous qualifications, and several failed attempts at studying had left me with low self-belief – I thought someone like me did not have what it takes to get a degree.”

However, Kristina knew she had a strong work ethic, having been in the workforce since her teens.

“Being a young single mother gave me strength to keep working and doing better for my children, to show them there is a better life,” she explains.

Kristina found Capable NZ’s model allowed her to continue earning a living while studying in her own time, maintaining her independence and family lifestyle.

The study process was challenging at times, as Kristina parented two teenagers and worked several jobs during her study journey. Due to her background, she was also diagnosed with complex post traumatic distress disorder during this time.

“I thought so many times about giving up on my degree,” she recalls. “However, the support I was shown was exactly what I needed.

“The way facilitators find out your needs, listen to them and then dedicate themselves to seeing you succeed is unmatched in my educational experience. I had my facilitator and the Student Success team right by my side. They listened to me and were truly a guiding light to get me to my Bachelor's.”

While studying was daunting at first, Kristina found the content “very interesting and relevant” to her career, and this kept her invested.

“Each learning task heightened my awareness of my own and others’ management skills and how much they are absolutely necessary in any job role,” she says. “Study has given me the awareness and understanding to take on more responsibility as I endeavour to climb the ladder and share my newfound skillsets with upper management and colleagues alike.”

When asked if she had a message for other learners who are considering a Capable NZ qualification, Kristina shared a whakataukī: iti noa ana hē pito mata – from the withered tree a flower blooms.

“Education is a constant in life - it is never too late to seek more of it,” she says. “You will be supported by the Capable team and can head towards a brighter future. It is a gateway to so much more. Do not let anything hold you back.”