Director

Hector Kaiwai's Master of Arts in Māori Studies gave him the tools to prosper in the information age.

Hector Kawai

Key facts

Career: Director of Awa Associates
Programme: Master of Arts
Subject: Māori Studies

"I am currently one of the Directors for a company called Awa Associates. We support businesses and organisations to develop the right systems and tools to better deliver, understand, monitor and improve the social impact of their work. My job mainly involves supporting social and cultural innovation and proving social impact through research and evaluation.

"Working alongside businesses and organisations like Kiwi Property and Auckland Council to build their cultural capacity has been a career highlight, especially the enthusiasm and commitment to excellence that I've seen from non-Māori in ensuring high quality engagement with Māori.

"My parents, especially my mother, fostered a deep passion in me for my people and culture right from an early age. Growing up in South Auckland also makes you keenly aware that large disparities exist, particularly for Māori.

I saw Māori Studies as a way to try and better understand my life, and the lives and experiences of the communities I grew up in, and by better understanding these issues, I could make a difference.

"Māori Studies is multidisciplinary and gives you a solid grounding in areas like history, anthropology, ethnomusicology, media, politics, sociology, linguistics and health. The flexibility an Arts degree offers meant I was able to develop a broad range of skills, and the kind of thinking and versatility that is vital in today’s job market. The skills and discipline that I learned during my years of study have, I believe, given me the necessary tools to prosper and thrive in the information age."