Tia Reihana

When Dance Studies lecturer Tia Reihana was looking for a place to study, she was drawn to the programme due to the inspirational staff – each with their own distinct area of expertise.

Tia Reihana
Tia Reihana (right) with her supervisors, Associate Professor Nicholas Rowe (Dance Studies) and Dr Mera Penehira (Te Puna Wānanga).

“When I was looking for a place to study, it was the staff in the Dance Studies Programme that attracted me. They each have their distinct interests and expertise. They have some amazing projects in Aotearoa and around the world; they’re a group of inspirational doers.

“I’ve been able to explore what it means to be a Māori woman in the Dance Studies department, and be around women who are succeeding in academia.

“My research looks at intercultural creative arts practice, facilitated through an indigenous perspective. Dance is my medium, but land-based pedagogy moves beyond disciplines.

“My two supervisors, one from the Dance Studies Programme and the other from Te Puna Wānanga, are incredible with their academic and personal support. There’s a healthy respect among the three of us, and it is safe to bring up anything in this environment.

“Postgraduate study is personal. The support from my whanau is essential. You also need to have the passion; you can learn how to write an academic paper, but passion can’t be taught. It’s important, particularly for Māori and Pacific students, that you are able to be yourself.

“Postgraduate study is not unattainable – what’s important to you and your communities is absolutely relevant and appropriate.”