Important Links

MATURE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION

University of Auckland Mature Students Association

New Widget Article
Success Stories - PhD / Masters Graduates

Dr Jennifer Stillman, PhD
Dr David Semp, PhD
Dr Gwyn Fox, PhD
Dr Daphne Paterson PhD
Dr Irene Ryan, PhD
Dr Lindsey White, PhD
Dr Mai Tran, PhD
Dr Vivienne Kent, PhD
Dr Fiva Faalau, PhD
Dr ieti Lima, PhD
Dr Melissa Matutina Williams, PhD
Dr Donna McKenzie, PhD
Dr Melissa Taitimu-Kapa, PhD
Dr Susan Copas, PhD
Dr Melissa Spencer, PhD
Dr Nina Nola, PhD
Laura Williams, Master of Arts
Maria Meredith, Master of Arts
Darrell Turner, Master of Arts
Helena Kaho, Master of Laws, LLM
Theresa Bourne, Master of Arts
Jean Young, Master of Arts
Alison Searle, Master of Arts
Helen Heppner, Master of Arts
Jennie Oakley, Master of Arts

Dr Jennifer Stillman, PhD

Dr Stillman was the first New Start student to receive a PhD. She recounts her experience here.

I entered the New Start programme in 1980. At that time I was a solo mum with two children, and this programme represented a most exciting possibility - providing a pathway to part-time University study. I had left school at the age of 15, because of family circumstances made it advisable for me to enter the workforce. I worked as a shorthand typist. Nevertheless I retained a hankering for learning and study, and the opportunity seemed magical. In the event, New Start was indeed just that - the first steps on a completely unimagined and unplanned, future.

At the outset I was not sure that I would actually complete a Bachelor degree, but that was the dream. In the event I entered full time study which continued beyond an undergraduate degree, and on to a PhD. Most of that study was undertaken for the sheer joy of learning, and the excitement of research. I did not anticipate and academic career since I entered my first year of study at the age of 40. However and invitation by one of my external PhD examiners to take up a Post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute of Sensory Research in Syracuse, upstate New York, was too tempting to refuse.

Following that, fixed term appointments at the Universities of Otago and Auckland preceded approximately 20 years as Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer at Massey University.

The New Start programme was the stile over which I clambered to reach a pathway of many unexpected, varied, challenging and satisfying adventures which continue after retirement at age 70.


Dr David Semp, PhD

Dr Semp is the second New start student to gain a PhD. Here is his story.

It is over 20 years since I completed the New Start programme and I am so grateful for the valuable help New Start gave me.  Since New Start I have become a Clinical Psychologist and completed a PhD but New Start helped me much more than academically.

I began New Start hugely lacking in confidence.  I had no idea I could be a successful university student.  The university seemed overwhelming to me.  However New Start helped me discover my abilities and opened many doors for me.  The staff were so supportive; the lecturers interesting and the study skills I learned in New Start helped me become a successful student and enabled me to understand and cope with the University system.  I also made many friends on the New Start course and these friendships continue.

My experience on New Start opened up a whole new world for me.  It enhanced me academically, socially, and personally.  I went on to become a clinical psychologist which is a job love.  At one stage I did a PhD as I thought I wanted to be an academic.  I enjoyed doing the PhD (mostly!) but learned through the journey that I wanted to remain primarily a clinician. 

Looking back I can now see that doing New Start was a turning point in my life.  I will be forever grateful for all New Start gave me.  Thank you.


Dr Gwyn Fox, PhD

MY EXPERIENCE OF NEW START (1992)

I would never have made it to university without New Start. They demystified the Ivory Tower for me (we used to be in the “Ivory Tower” too – Clocktower Building). It was hard work; a lecture and an essay every week on disparate subjects; a good ‘taster’ of what was available to us. One week I wrote two, on different subjects, in case the first wasn’t ‘good enough’; my perennial problem of perfectionism was my greatest enemy. I appreciated the time the staff took to explain everything, and the efforts of participating faculty departments in setting and marking assignments. I especially appreciated getting out of the home-kids-school run-meals environment and getting to talk to other people, make friends and learn new things.

Enrolment then was in person. The NS staff had the foresight to arrange a tutorial in which we were walked around the university from place to place (interview – photo – student card, payment, etc) to show exactly where we had to queue. Without it I probably would not have gone to enrol – too daunting. I was deeply impressed by the perspicacity of staff in realising that something that simple could prove such an obstacle to insecure seniors. So, New Start for me was a wholly positive experience and a challenge, in which I managed to frighten myself quite a lot but emerged more confident and ready for the fray.

The New Start course is an inspired idea and well worth the university’s investment. Mature students add richness to class discussions and can be a great support to younger students, since life skills are something they have yet to acquire.


Dr Daphne Paterson PhD

I did New Start in 1981 when I was 40. The programme opened up a wonderful world of learning for me. Without it I would not have had the courage to enrol at University.

Following New Start, I began a BA in 1982 studying part time. I competed the BA with a double major in Greek and Ancient History , followed by an MA in Ancient History. 

I was awarded a Doctorate in Ancient History (Greek) in 2002. I was then appointed as an Hon. Research Fellow in the Department of Classics and Ancient History. I held this position until I retired in 2008.

My tip for success would be to study something you are interested in - something which fascinates you. I was fortunate enough to be able to do this. The time I spent studying at the University of Auckland, from New Start to PhD, were some of the happiest and most fulfilling years of my life. Without New Start this would not have been possible. It instilled a love of learning which I've never lost. As a retirement  project I'm studying for another bachelors degree.


Dr Irene Ryan, PhD

I attended the ‘New Start’ programme at age 31, having dropped out of secondary school and although in paid employment, frustrated by a lack of qualifications to change career paths. I took the Social Science option and this proved invaluable in introducing me to a world, I had no conception off. Simple practical strategies such as where to sit in a large lecture, accessing resources, taking lecture notes gave me the confidence to embark on a risky and pretty scary journey as a mature student. It was difficult combining study with full-time employment and the responsibilities of a parent, a situation that has been constant as I acquired further tertiary qualifications. The learning from the New Start programme I have never forgotten as it gave me a ‘toolbox’ of strategies to cope.

1986: Bachelor of Arts (History major) - University of Auckland;

1987: Diploma of Teaching - Auckland College of Education;

1998: Master of Philosophy (Hons.) - Management & Employment Relations, University of Auckland;

 2006: Doctor of Philosophy – Management & Employment Relations, University of Auckland.     

I am currently a Senior Lecturer in the Management Department, Business and Law Faculty, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand. Prior to joining AUT in 2004, I held academic positions in the Business School at the University of Auckland after ten years in secondary school education. Inspired by critical feminist research in management, leadership and organizational studies my current research interests revolve broadly around gendered practices of leadership, diversity, careers and intersectionality. In 2011, I gained a prestigious, NZ - Fast Start Marsden Award, to research the relationship between organizational life, managerial work, leadership cultures and sport.


Dr Lindsey White, PhD

Dr White is the first New Start student to become an Associate Professor. Here is his story.

I went to several West Auckland High Schools but left in the middle of Sixth Form before getting University Entrance. I worked in a variety of jobs over the next decade, ending up as a Carpetlayer. In my mid twenties, I decided that I wanted to extend myself and so returned to New Zealand from the United States and enrolled in the New Start for Arts course at the University of Auckland. I received a very good mark for one of the essays I wrote (a philosophy essay on John Stuart Mill) and the Course Coordinator even asked if they could show it to other students as an exemplar. This gave me the confidence that I could actually achieve at university level (that I had not lost too many brain cells along the way), but also that I should strive for and expect top marks in all assignments.

I started a Bachelor of Arts the following year but changed into a Bachelor of Science in Biology in my second semester. I did work hard and achieved good grades throughout. I also became very interested in becoming a Marine Biologist and academic at a University. So I then enrolled in a Masters degree, changed it to a PhD the following year and in 2000, some six years after completing the New Start course (and two children later), I graduated with a Doctorate.
 
I continued in Marine Biology and in 2004 got a position at Auckland University of Technology as a Senior Lecturer in Applied Sciences. In 2010 I became Head of School and I am now an Associate Professor and an Associate Dean in the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences here at AUT. I continue to lecture, supervise Masters and PhD students and pursue my research interests in aquaculture, fisheries and marine ecology. The professional life of a Marine Biologist is every bit as exciting and varied as you might expect. Each year I travel to conferences and meetings around the world, I do lots of field work, which entails snorkeling, spearfishing and SCUBA diving around NZ, but also on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and I love teaching my students.
 
I often reflect on the New Start course and what it gave me. I certainly would not have got to where I am without it. It gave me a great taste of what it is to be a University student, but more than that, it taught me to aim high, because the sky is well and truly the limit.
 


Dr Mai Tran, PhD

(Mai Tran graduation picture, adapted from Engineering Alumni News , page 15, December 2008, The Universiy of Auckland, Faculty of Engineering)

 

Thank you New  Start Program for those date that I just started enter University to find out how to begin for my wishing postgraduate plan. The first lesson that made me a lot impressive is “How to write a good Essay”. I had much thought about this topic and bearing in my mind a lot questions around this issue.  “Studying in Postgraduate we should learn about the science or imagine techniques why we need to learn how to write a good essay?”. This is a true. We need to very good in which to be able completed the assignments during taking courses as well as writing your Master or Doctoral thesis including writing published papers which presented your valuable research works.

After completed New Start Program, I tried improve my vocabulary, grammar … to be very good English to enroll Master of Food Science in 1999 and completed this degree in two years later. I also started PhD in Engineering in 2002 and finished in 2006 and received Doctor of Philosophy graduation in May 2008. My research field was Innovative Food Science & Food Engineering and Composite Materials and I am currently working at Research Centre of the Faculty of Engineering, Centre for Advanced Composite Materials of The University of Auckland, New Zealand. Thank you New Start Program and The University gave me the opportunities to studying and growing up.

 

With me, New Start is very good program for those who came from overseas and willing to do postgraduate studying in New Zealand. It is very good guide for you when you would like to complete your degrees whereas English as your second language. Good luck and I wish you all the best.

Best regards,

 

Mai Tran


Dr Vivienne Kent, PhD

 

Vivienne completed the New Start Arts Programme in 1996.  She had always dreamed about going to university but went off the rails in her early teens, expelled from two Auckland high schools by the time she was sixteen.  She went on to train as a pattern maker and fashion designer, working in London and Melbourne; and then gave it up to work in the music business in London, at first as a photographer and designer of stage wear for bands, and later on forming her own catering business for bands on tour. 

 

In 1995 her marriage ended and she returned to Auckland with two young children and a baby.  She was forty years old, and a sole parent.  ‘At first I didn’t know what to do, as I couldn’t go out and work as I had three young kids to care for.  By chance I read something about the New Start Programme, and thought I’d try and see if I could re-train for a career more suitable for my parenting requirements, something like teaching.  I was astonished when I was awarded an A in New Start.  I had left school with no qualifications, and was very nervous about being a mature student. 

 

‘I went on to enroll in a Bachelor of Arts, at first helped by a Training Incentive Allowance.  As my youngest son was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and had special needs I had to study part-time, and luckily my Mum was able to help me with child-care.  I went to just about every course at the Student Learning Centre and always pestered my tutors to help me develop my academic skills!  It worked, and I was awarded several scholarships, the most prestigious being the Bright Futures Award Scholarship for my PhD in Sociology.  The achievements I am most proud of, however, are my children: I was the first person in my family to be awarded a degree at a university, and my children have followed my example.  Even my youngest son, with autism, and now aged nineteen, has begun to study a degree in Fine Arts.

 

‘I now teach at The University of Auckland: I have taught Sociology courses in gender, the media, violence, and research methods, and I also teach international students, through the International Office.  My favourite work, though, is teaching Sociology in the New Start Programme, as this is where I got a second chance and my life turned around.  It’s such a humbling experience to be able to help others in the way I was myself helped in 1996.  New Start changed my life, and I want to hold the ladder steady for others to climb up as well.’


Dr Fiva Faalau, PhD

“The New Start Programme provided me with the opportunity to reach my potential I never knew I had. It opened many doors for me in the Academic arena. My PhD Study explored health and wellbeing issues for Samoan youth and their families. After my PhD, I am now a Sociology Lecturer at Massey University.


Dr ieti Lima, PhD

The impact of beer drinking , bingo nights, tobacco and the TAB on the health of Samoans is being studied in the light of a projected population increase  in this group.

Dr ieti Lima, a  sociologist with wide experience in researching Pacific Island health issues carried out the study as a research fellow at Massey's  Auckland campus.

He is interviewing up to 50 South Auckland-based Samoans, half of them agrd from 50 to 64 and half 65 and over.

The Health Research Council-funded study will examine the perceptions, understanding and practices of older Samoan people in relation to drinking , smoking and gambling, says Dr Lima.

The study will determine how these at-risk lifestyle behaviors impact on the health and well-being of participants as well as members of their families, he says.

Given the forecasts for a significant population increase among Pacific Islanders in this age group from 9000 in 2001 to 25,000 in 2021 it is vital for the health sector to have a better understanding how drinking, smoking and gambling relate to Pacific Island health.

There is very little baseline data available on the motivating factors that underpin Pacific people's health risk behaviors.

New Zealand's older generation of Samoans, mostly born in Samoa, often had conflicted views about alcohol.


Dr Melissa Matutina Williams, PhD

Fifteen years ago Melissa Williams was a part time packer in a factory wanting more out of life. The mother of four decided to try University study and found it suited her. In 2010 Melissa graduated with her Doctorate in Maori  History. Her research looks at the urban migration  of the North Hokianga Maori. "I went back to study for my personal growth, as well as my family's security."

Melissa started her journey through New Start giving her the practical requirements needed to become a student of the University of Auckland. Melissa started her degree with a Law and Arts portfolio but her passion turned to history.

Today Dr Melissa Matutina Williams, PhD is a lecturer in Maori history, her areas of expertise are:-

  • "Māori and Aotearoa twentieth-century history, with a spefic focus on Māori urban migrations, community development and identity construction.
  • Māori labour and workplace culture, and the culture of 'working whanau'
  • Māori and Indigenous historical methodologies"
Her book, Panguru and the City:Kainga Tahe, Kainga Rua, Bridget Williams Book, 2014, will be available in November 2014.


Dr Melissa Taitimu-Kapa, PhD

Melissa Tautimu is of Te Rarawa and Te Aupouri descent. She was awarded in 2008 a PhD in Phychology at the University of Auckland.

Her PhD is entitled Nga Whakaawhitinga: Standing at the crossroads, Maori ways of understanding schizophrenia. Some of the questions this research investigates are , why are Maori being diagnosed with schizophrenia at such high rates? Is schizophrenia  a relevant construct for Maori? Did schizophrenia exist before European contact? And what can be done about addressing the issue of increased hospitalisation?

During the first two years of her PhD Melissa was privileged to korero with 56 Maori including clinicians, kaumatua/kuia, tangara whaiora and case workers about the above issues as well consult widely with arious embers of the maori community. One of the overarching themes derived from the research has been that Maori must enter into a meaning making process to heal during these experiences whether they are schizophrenic or not.  Current psychiatric treatment goals of merely stopping or suppressing symptoms that are often considered irrational and devoid of meaning by their very definition (for example. hallucinations and delusions) are in stark contrast to the current findings.

Ultimately, for the meaning making process to be taken seriously a significant paradigm shift and subsequent change in the New Zealand mental infrastructure is required.

Melissa intends to disseminate her research to a wider community by hui held in various marae across the North
Island. Her wider research interests are in the area of indigenous mental health with an emphasis on resilience research, media representations of Maori and indigenous peoples and traditional healing practices.



Dr Donna McKenzie, PhD

"Your early thirties - its a time when you reassess what you are doing with your life." Donna knew she wanted to do something else and a friend suggested New Start for Arts.

"From the very first lecture I just loved it." She enrolled part-time at the University of Auckland the next year then went full time doing Anthropology. Masters followed and Doctorate studies, made possible by a Health Research Council PhD scholarship. Her Doctorate studies in Anthropology and Community Health, focused on the connection between intimate relationships and the health and well-being of young people in New Zealand.

Donna Lectured and tutored at the university of Auckland while studying and since graduating looked forward to applying her knowledge and research skills in a career in Government Policy.


Dr Susan Copas, PhD

I enrolled in New Start in the year my youngest son began his schooling. I was 29, and a single mother of three small boys.  The university seemed a strange, somewhat daunting, and yet fascinating place.  Curiosity and a love of learning drew me in.  Wonderful New Start staff and the range of courses on offer within the programme nurtured this and set me on a life-changing path.  No one in my wider family had been to University, so there were no family stories to glean confidence and a sense of possibility from. These things I gained during my New Start year.


I subsequently enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts degree with the initial intention of becoming a psychologist. However I fell in love with sociology, eventually graduating with a double major in Sociology and Education. I went on to complete a Masters in Sociology and then a PhD in Management and Employment Relations from the Business School.  Both my post graduate degrees were supported by great scholarships, including a Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship.

 

As an organisational sociologist I have enjoyed working in a wide range of contract and consultancy roles in both the public and private sectors using the skills and knowledge gained while at University.  I currently work in the Strategy, Participation and Improvement Directorate at the Auckland District Health Board. 

 

New Start is aptly named, for this is what the programme gave me in so many ways.  And it is an intergenerational gift, for one of my sons, and the daughter I had while completing my Masters are now both University graduates too!

 


Dr Melissa Spencer, PhD


MELISSA SPENCER DOCTORAL PROFILE AND CITATION

Melissa SPENCER
Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Melissa graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in (English and Education) in 1996
She followed this with a Master of Arts (First class) in Education, with a thesis entitled A New Social Contract? Women, work and welfare in New Zealand, which was supervised by Dr Susan Robertson (now Professor of Sociology of Education in the University of Bristol). She began her PhD studies in 1999, supervised by Professor Roger Dale and Dr Wendy Larner, until she left the University in 2004, and from then until the submission of the thesis by Dr Maxine Stephenson. She was supported by a University of Auckland doctoral scholarship and a Bright Future Top Achiever doctoral scholarship.

The original stimulus for her work was the emergence in the 1990s of an apparent problem of ‘boys’ educational underachievement. On investigating the history of this phenomenon she discovered that not only had the ‘problem of boys’ recurred throughout New Zealand history, but that at each moment of such intense focus on ‘problem boys’ the society itself was in flux. These periods were characterised by a sense of moral vacuum that generated great anxiety especially among the middle classes. The kinds of boys involved and the nature of the problems they were seen as generating changed over time, most significantly away from their being seen as ‘villains’ to their being seen as ‘victims’, which is how they appeared in the 1990 discourses.

This led to investigations of the understandings and representations of social class in New Zealand and the role of education in those changing understandings and representations, especially as the axis of class politics shifted form redistribution to recognition and identity. However, the thesis argues that such understandings and representations are mediated through a cultural predisposition to ‘class blindness’, and that in particular it is not social class, but ‘respectability’, that has operated as the key signifier of collective identification. The body of the thesis deepens and embeds this central theoretical proposition, particularly as it impinges on gender and ethnic relations, and develops it through a number of key historical and contemporary examples.

Melissa is currently employed as Research Development Advisor for Te Whare Kura a Thematic Research Initiative of the University that supports Maori and Pacific research, and in a research support position for the Faculty of Arts.

CITATION
Melissa’s thesis examines the ways in which contemporary discussions of boys’ educational failure are a continuation of discourses of respectability that have represented and reflected changing forms of cultural identification that have characterised and shaped New Zealand society since the middle of the 19th century. It provides a new and original understanding of class, gender and ethnic relations in New Zealand, and the ways that these have been experienced in and mediated through education.  


Prepared by Professor Roger Dale
Professor of Education and Primary Unit Head
The Graduate School of Education
University of Bristol, UK.


Dr Nina Nola, PhD

Nina was a bookseller at the University Book Shop when she studied under the New Start programme in 1983: a friend who had done the course found the essay topics interesting and Nina enjoyed arguing with her!

It wasn’t until 1986 that Nina, returning from her OE and managing a bookshop in London, started her BA in English Literature and Languages. She couldn’t stop: in 2000 she was awarded her doctorate in English and now she convenes English for the Tertiary Foundation Certificate. 

What New Start gave her was the courage and confidence to step foot inside the library, to answer tutors’ questions and to attempt to write critically.

Nina relishes the chance she has every year with the new intake of Foundation students to mentor them to academic confidence.


Maria Meredith, Master of Arts

New Start’s new Pacific Island Project Manager Maria Meredith, knows exactly what the Programme is all about. A few years ago, it gave her the start she needed-and this year she graduated from University with a BA in Education and Women’s Studies. “I left school in 1983 with UE. I wanted to go to University but ended up going to work, having my first baby at 20. I forgot all about it until my sister in law completed New Start. I didn’t think I could do the programme until I received my first essay mark which was an A++! The tutor said it was superb. I had no faith in myself until that moment. I went all out, and made up my mind to go full-time for my Degree.

Maria began her journey at The University of Auckland as a New Start student in 1995. She enrolled in the programme offered at Tamaki Campus in her local neighbourhood. 

As well as studying she was running her home with three children now aged 13, 6, 4, and her Husband working night shifts.
Fitting time in for study was something new for her family. After the children were put to bed and the housework done, Maria would study. “It was physically and mentally exhausting. Doing a Degree really takes a toll on you, but nevertheless I only saw one thing, to complete my Degree at any cost. The sacrifices paid off." As for Graduation itself, she had a ball. “I felt like a Queen, waving at people.

On completing the New Start programme she had begun her BA degree in 1996 majoring in Education and Anthropology. During her undergraduate study she won three scholarships. Before she finished her studies she was asked to work part-time for the New Start team. The following year she was appointed as a manager for Pasifika students. "I have met some great students through the programme over the years. Some of them have become good friends."

Maria was offered a Scholarship to do her Masters; she turned it down in the interests of her family. She took a break, and continued the next stage part-time.

After one year in her new role she began part-time study with a MA degree in Education. Half way through work and study she became pregnant with their fourth child. Juggling family, work and study was challenging but she managed to complete her postgraduate studies. "What motivated me was the support from my family particularly my children. Working at the University of Auckland helped. The postgraduate lecturers were inspiring, making you want to learn more." 

Today Maria continues to be part of New Start. She manages over 40 staff members and provides academic support to over 300 students each year. At the end of 2014 Maria will complete her provisional year in her PhD degree in Education.       


Maria Meredith

BA, MA (Hons), PhD Candidate

University of Auckland

 


Laura Williams, Master of Arts

As a shop assistant, Laura watched the University of Auckland Graduates process up Queen Street during Graduation week. She thought how wonderful it would be to be one of them.

So one day she walked up the hill and enquired about New Start. During the course, Laura commented "Before, all I done was write out lay-by dockets and now I am writing academic essays!"

On September 26th 2002, Laura graduated with a bachelor of Arts Degree and went on to do a Master's Degree focusing on socio-legal studies.


Darrell Turner, Master of Arts

  Darrell was a technical and administrative support officer at the North Shore City Council. Despite enjoying his position Darrell needed and wanted to advance his career, but lacked the advanced tertiary qualifications he required. “When I left high school at the end of 1976, the last thing I wanted to do was further study, so I didn't take the study opportunities I was offered very seriously back then.”

Darrell joined the New Start Programme and in 2002 he enrolled for a BA, followed by a PhD in Sociology and a tutorship role with undergraduate students. He is full of praise for pre-entry, transition or foundation courses which offer an introduction to tertiary study. “Now, with a whole lot of life experience under my belt, I can see how education can seriously stretch the mind.”


Helena Kaho, Master of Laws, LLM

 Mother of four Helena Kaho has juggled the pressures of parenthood with a Bachelor of Arts and Law Degrees for the last seven years. The hard work has paid off. Helena has graduated with Honours and is now in the process of doing her Masters of Law and looking forward to working as a Criminal Lawyer.

It all started when she enrolled with the 12 week programme in 2003. Helena encourages other Mothers to follow her example and extend themselves academically. “A lot of parents think it can’t be done,” she states. “I found it really helpful having children while studying as it kept me grounded”. The 34 year old feels New Start is a foundation programme for those who left school without the prerequisites to move into a University. “It gives one a taster across a broad range of subjects and you’re marked at a University standard.”

Helena a Kiwi of Tongan descent is now working full-time as the Pasifika Academic co-ordinator in the Faculty of Law at Auckland University while she finishes her Masters part-time. She studied as a hairdresser and beauty therapy after High School and decided to go back to University at age 26 with four young children. “I was just interested to see how far I could go, it was really a personal choice and satisfying achievement”, she says “It is a sacrifice one has to make.” However the experience was definitely well worth while Helena smiles, “I can see that my children are influenced by what I’ve done and they know no different,” “They know they are all going to University and see it as a positive step and a part of life which is really good and healthy.


Theresa Bourne, Master of Arts

Theresa Mother of 5, Graduated with her Master’s Degree in September 2003. She is now working as a Behaviour Managerist.


Jean Young, Master of Arts

Jean a Registered Nurse and Plunket Nurse, came to New Start when she retired.

Jean enjoyed History, and finished her BA, followed by her Masters. She chose as her Thesis, The Evacuation of British School Children 1939 - 1945, as a result of her own experience.

As well as interviewing evacuees who had been sent to New Zealand, her research took her to Reading University in England.

When Jean turned 76 she turned her attention to catching up with neglected household chores, before deciding what to do next.


Alison Searle, Master of Arts

Alison, mother of five children owes her new career to a small advert for a course at the Manukau Institute of Technology - New Start for Arts run by the University of Auckland.

While her children were young she studied by correspondence, coming to University when her youngest started school.

For Alison's Thesis her research was part of a four year study on Tuberculosis, a combined investigation by the Health Research Council and the University of Auckland.

Alison went on to tutor in the Anthropology Department.


Helen Heppner, Master of Arts

I grew up in a small rural community where practical achievement was praised while university education was mocked. My three years of secondary school had been an unenlightening struggle, thus higher education was not something I thought I would ever experience, never mind achieve at.

I was tempted to enroll in the New Start programme by my regular contact with the then co-coordinator Anne Davis and two young women who had enrolled in university, following their participation in the New Start programme. The gentle encouragement from Anne and the obvious satisfaction of the two students led me into this foreign world. I enrolled in The New Start programme in1985.

From the lectures offered we gained an insight into the subjects that might appeal. When there were doubts or concerns the New Start staff were always available to help ease the way through the maze of options. Essential for me were the lectures and additional courses on the skills and strategies necessary for all facets of tertiary study. These did not stop my hands shaking uncontrollably while sitting the first two exams of my undergraduate degree.

I found being exposed to new knowledge and gaining insights which explained events in, and structures of society, a stimulating, challenging but overall a rewarding experience.

On completion of my BA in 1990, I had intended to seek employment, but as in 1991 New Zealand experienced record levels of unemployment, I enrolled for an MA. I had followed an interest in Adult Learning and Education so when Anne Davis suggested writing a history of the New Start programme for my thesis topic, I was thrilled. What a privilege it was to document the programme which had led me and many others into new learning, expanding our minds and horizons in previously unimagined directions.

 


Jennie Oakley, Master of Arts

IF YOU CAN DREAM IT YOU CAN DO IT!

It was not until 2000 at the age of sixty two that I first enrolled at the University to study for a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in history and politics, a Bachelor of Arts with Honours followed in 2006.  This degree was done through Massey University as an extra-curricular student while living in Bunbury, West Australia and looking after my then two teenage grandchildren.  On returning to Auckland in 2007 I read, researched and wrote my thesis for my Masters degree while working in the University library.

To understand why I left it so late to begin any tertiary study, it is necessary to remember that when I left school at the end of 1956 it was unusual for girls to go to University unless they were considered to be very bright or their parents had lots of money.  No one ever told me I was bright and I certainly had no money. And thus like many of my era, went nursing, got married and had children.

Nevertheless, going to a university one day, somewhere, was a dream I held onto – a dream I shared with my husband from time to time but never to the children.  However the day our first born celebrated his 40th birthday I found myself thinking that unless I stopped working full time and enrol at a university immediately the years would continue to fly by and my dream would never become a reality.  And so with heart pounding I rang the New Start office the next day to ask for the required forms and have never looked back.

In 2010 I was dubbed ‘Granny Graduate’ by the Auckland University for being the oldest graduate that year.  Of course there were challenges for me as a student of ‘mature’ years.  Perhaps the biggest one was learning to question everyone and everything from highly respected lecturers and all forms of the media.  In the 1950s, young people did not question anything or anyone, neither teachers nor parents.  Learning was by rote and regurgitated at examination time.  However, I now know it was by studying at university that a new world was revealed to me, including the acquisition of skills absolutely necessary for todays’ modern and challenging technology and I have never been happier.

And it all began at NEW START.

Jennie Oakley, BA 2005, BA (Honours) 2007, MA 2010.


Video featuring Jennie Oakley on TV3 News (click to view)


Success Stories - Bachelor / LLB Graduates

Maria Mortimer, Bachelor of Laws LLB
Willie Fanene, LLB
Sam Seu, LLB
Eddie Taia, LLB
Victoria Letele, BA LLB
Susan Nash, Bachelor of Arts
Marian Walsh, Bachelor of Arts
Tuini Hakaria, Bachelor of Arts
Guido van der Voorne, Bachelor of Arts
Fayne Myers, Bachelor of Arts
Cherry & Geoff Worger, Bachelor of Arts
Alex Wilson, Batchelor of Arts
Bianca Tutuvanu, Bachelor of Arts
Sharon Grusning, Batchelor of Arts
James Lewis, Bachelor of Arts
Karyn Coleman, BA Student
Alyson Kahukiwa, LLB Student
Pat Northey, BA Student

Maria Mortimer, Bachelor of Laws LLB

An ‘A’ Grade on New Start Arts guarantees access into Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Part 1

Maria Mortimer, LLB is shown outside the High Court the day she was admitted to the Bar.

Maria was working in a lunch bar when a friend suggested she should try New Start. Her grade gave her admittance to Part 1 Law. Maria was then employed as a Junior Barrister at a leading Auckland Firm.


There are other pathways into Law  - Talk to us.




Willie Fanene, LLB

New Zealand born Samoan Willie Fanene left High School in 1976 with a dream of studying Law but joined the Police Force instead.

In 1996 a friend suggested New Start. “New Start prepared me for Law- how hard it would be how to approach my studies and the dedication and discipline that were required.” Says Willie. Willie now works as a police prosecutor.

Sergeant Fanene Graduated in May 2003 with an LLB.


Sam Seu, LLB

Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Property.

Coming to University was a major decision for me. I didn’t want to jump in the deep end and I found the whole “University” thing quite overwhelming. I chose the New Start Programme as a way to prepare myself for University study. A good friend of mine directed me to New Start as he found his learning experience was so positive.

My friend faced so many personal challenges but his commitment and motivation changed my perspective on University study. I thought to myself if my friend can do it, so can I. I worked as an electrical service technician and would often visit office buildings admiring degrees on display in the offices I did work for, and thinking about the possibilities.

My wife already had her degrees, and it was now my turn to study. I believe that education is a way of life. I was the first of my generation to go to University and I want the same for my children. Some people make excuses but if you are passionate about something anything is possible. My decision to enroll at this University was based on the Faculty of Law’s prestigious reputation. I studied for a conjoint degree in Law and Property and my long term goal is to complete my degrees and do my professional qualifications.

Note, Sam is now a professional lawyer.


Eddie Taia, LLB

EDDIE TAIA

“My ambition on leaving school was to travel and see the world.

After a few years away I returned home with the desire to complete my formal education at University in 1996 I enrolled in the New Start Programme which was thoroughly enjoyable and thrilling experience. I then enrolled for a Bachelor of Laws Degree and in 2001. Graduated with my Admission to the Bar. A particularly special moment.

I am currently working as a Junior Barrister, an ideal preparation for the future. One thing I have come to realise is that your education at University is just the start. Every day I continue to learn, however, when I look back at the beginning of New Start I appreciate how helpful their advice and support in preparing me for Degree Studies.”


Susan Nash, Bachelor of Arts

Going back to University to increase one’s skills and give back to the community has become a reality for Mother Susan Nash. She took on the challenge of gaining a Degree after Graduating from Auckland University’s New Start Programme. Hillsborough resident Ms Nash graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Sociology in 2011- the same day her Son Sam Graduated with a conjoint Arts and Commerce Degree.

She feels tertiary study was not something she had ever considered for herself and found the advertisement for New Start while skimming the newspaper. “Tertiary study was a must for my children, but never something I considered, yet the article struck a chord and after weeks of procrastination and the support from my family I enrolled in New Start. The experience was life changing the programme was personally challenging but it also gave me the chance to dream of new aspirations.”

Ms Nash found the course inspirational and a pointer in the right direction. “It gave me the courage and strength and realisation that I was more than just a wife, Mother or office worker that I still had something to offer society. It helped me to know my strengths, my interests and has set me on a pathway that I previously discounted for myself. It showed me that you are never too old to learn or dream and here I am at 37 years after leaving school, graduating with my degrees.


Victoria Letele, BA LLB

Vicky, Mother to Jonathan, enrolled in the New Start in 1994 as a foundation for Law Studies. “New Start gave me the confidence to enroll at Auckland University” she said. Vicky completed her Law Degree and was admitted to the Bar in 2003. She is now employed at the Employment Relations Authority as an operational Business Policy Advisor, dividing her working week between Wellington and Auckland.


Marian Walsh, Bachelor of Arts

  Marian, 45, wanted to ensure her family's future would be comfortable after the passing of her husband, and that required qualifying for a job she could enjoy and work at until retirement.

She studied the Bachelor of Arts degree (BA), majoring in English and History, and began the Graduate Teaching Diploma, toward becoming a secondary school teacher. “I was worried about my age and returning to study, but I was pleased to find there were quite a few other mature students and I’ve become very good friends with a lot of students in my classes.”

Marian found juggling family and study to be a challenge, but having a clear and definite goal while being able to share her achievements with her children, kept her motivated and resilient.


Tuini Hakaria, Bachelor of Arts

Tuini was delighted to discover New Start at West Auckland.

She completed the programme, enrolled at the University of Auckland, and in 2002 Graduated with her BA Degree.


Guido van der Voorne, Bachelor of Arts

Guido, seen here with his family on Graduation Day May 2003, was a factory Manager when he came to New Start. “They encouraged my secret dream to do tertiary study.”

He is currently working freelance, and caring for their 2 year old daughter.


Fayne Myers, Bachelor of Arts

Fayne a Mother of seven, enrolled in New Start in 1996 when she was 53 years of age. She had always longed to study Psychology, but knew she had neither the skills to succeed at University Level, nor the statistical ability that Psychology demands. Although very nervous, Fayne rang New Start and has never looked back!

She achieved a grade of A- on the course, and in 2002 she Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, and planned to enrol in a Master’s Degree in 2003.


Cherry & Geoff Worger, Bachelor of Arts

Gerry and Geoff Worger wanted to find out more about the world. They had owned their own business, but when Geoff turned sixty they decided to come to University. “We had never been in a Lecturer theatre before and at the first session of New Start-well what a thrill!”

New Start showed them that perseverance made up for the instant re-call of younger Students. As they progressed through their BA Degrees together, Cherry and Geoff visited places that they were learning about. “We visited the Museum of Modern Art in Los Angeles and saw the work of Jackson Pollock after taking an Art History course, and visited China after taking ‘China and the Ming Dynasty’.

Without New Start, we would not have had the confidence to go on to Degree Study. We are so glad we took that first step!


Alex Wilson, Batchelor of Arts

Alex did New Start in 1999, completing his Degree in May 2004.

Alex studied English and Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and had his degree conferred in September 2004.


Bianca Tutuvanu, Bachelor of Arts

Bianca of Cook Islands, Samoan and European ancestry, left school with School Certificate, but later wanted more education. "I really enjoyed New Start with the different subjects, not available at schools."

Bianca enrolled in an Arts Degree majoring in Anthropology and History.

"University was really hard work but in the end it's worth it to expand your mind and interest - makes one confident as a person."

The last time someone in her family Graduated was in 1978. Bianca was going on to further study.


Sharon Grusning, Batchelor of Arts

"I had my children, 4 girls, when I was a really young woman, and worked as a Manager in a bakery store. However I wanted to extend myself and do something I wanted to do."

New Start opened the door and Sharon went on to graduate and finished her Diploma in Teaching.

She has now been teaching since 2004 and is a senior teacher at Birkdale Primary, a career she is extremely passionate about.


James Lewis, Bachelor of Arts

The 1980’s saw me being subjected to Friedmanism. It left me uneducated and unemployed. 

Through the 1990’s I got employable through my own efforts. However in the Millennium I saw the possibility of being left by the wayside in my old age, because of Friedmanism. Therefore in the second semester of 2004 I enrolled for the New Start Program. My vision was to get educated, so that the intelligence of my own mind would support me in my old age. 

After graduating from New Start I entered into an Arts Degree, which I completed in 2008. I was admitted to that degree with a Latin and Statistics Major. However I wanted to learn law so that I could ameliorate the effects of Friedmanism. Therefore in 2009 I commenced a law degree. At present I have completed Part Three and am looking to complete this degree within another couple of years due to my work commitments. 

 I am thankful that through my faith in our Eternal Father in Heaven I have had the discipline to lift myself out of the squalor that Friedmanism left me in. I also applaud the people who work hard to provide the means of the New Start Program that enabled me to commence this journey, God bless them.


Karyn Coleman, BA Student

NEW START brings rewards.
Karen, the mother of three grown children is excited about her future and in 2012 started a conjoint degree- A Bachelor of Arts with Majors in Law and Psychology. Her Academic career began in 2011 with the New Start Programme at Auckland University.

Sixteen years ago while raising her children and working Karyn had a workplace accident which left her unable to read even a single line of a book. It took her two years with the help of a teaching therapist for her to learn to read again.

Last year, she felt the need to re-evaluate her life and decided to embrace some longer term goals. “I was unsure how to bridge the gap between my current circumstances and the goals I wanted to achieve. Having read about the New Start Programme I thought it could prove to be that necessary bridge,” Karyn stated.


Alyson Kahukiwa, LLB Student

New Start makes all the  DIFFERENCE.

Alyson Kahukiwa is married with children and her own business. What better time
for a career change.

Alyson was born and lived in South Auckland and is a hairdresser and makeup artist by trade. However, she always wanted to study Law. The New Start Programme gave her the confidence to start her degree in arts and Law.

New Start Programme runs at both City Campus and Manukau Institute of Technology and offers those without University entrance the chance to obtain the entrance into University.

New Start sets a student up providing you have the courage to make a positive step forward. It doesn’t matter where you have come from or your past Educational experiences. Alyson admits feeling like a “small Fish in a large ocean” when she started at University. However, the programme prepared her for the transition. Juggling Family and study became a challenge because her husband had to take up extra shifts to support Alyson. Maria Meredith states that Alyson is just one of the programme’s many success stories.

The part time course accommodates people working fulltime and allows them a chance to get back into study. Alyson thinks the programme created for her a second chance

At education and a desire to be the best she can be. “I never want to look back and say what if”. “Instead I will be able to say "I did”.


Pat Northey, BA Student

Women of my age left school in the 1950's to contribute to the family income. Males in the family were most likely to get family funding for tertiary education. Women were expected to get married and raise a family. We did not realise then we would be lifetime workers as well as raising the family.

I had worked in  libraries and as a legal executive and law librarian but had always wondered what if? What if I had had the chance to go the University after I left school? I had always felt I could have done it.

So after I stopped working I made the decision to enroll at University and complete more papers. I had tried to do papers while working but the time factor did not work. This was the time to do it properly.

I was determined to start with New Start to learn the current codes of how to write essays. I had never felt happy with the previous essays I had written even when they received an “A”, something I enjoy.

 New Start opened up the world of Anthropology and Archaeology, I was hooked.