Heather Ruru – Reo Māori immersion teacher

Winning a TeachNZ Scholarship allowed Heather Ruru to complete a Bachelor of Education (Teaching) and follow her dream of passing on her love of te reo Māori to students.

“I’ve always wanted a career where I could immerse myself in te reo Māori. Becoming a teacher has allowed me to do just that, while being a great role model for my son, growing my reo proficiency and passing on my love of the language to students.

“I chose the Huarahi Māori specialisation at the University of Auckland because it means I’m not restricted – I can teach as a rumaki (immersion Māori language teacher), reo rua (bilingual teacher) or as a teacher in English medium schools.

“I’ve learnt from the best. Classes about language revitalisation are taught by academics who have worked with indigenous people all over the world, maths lessons are delivered by an author of the curriculum, and te reo Maori is taught taught by a member of Te Mātāwai and translators of the movie Moana! Through my studies, I’ve made lifelong friends and met so many inspiring lecturers, associate teachers and classmates.

“But degrees aren’t cheap and full-time study is a huge decision, especially as a parent. With encouragement from my pouako reo (Māori language teacher), I decided to apply for the TeachNZ Scholarships.

“Winning Te Waka Whakarei Career Changer Scholarship took a lot of pressure off and allowed me to prioritise my studies. I could focus on my learning and strive for high grades because I want to return to university for postgraduate studies one day.

“To anyone considering applying for a scholarship, I’d say ‘Karawhiua – go for it!’. Studying the Bachelor of Education (Teaching) has been life-changing and created amazing opportunities for me. And it’s only the beginning.”

After graduating, Heather secured a job as a Pouako reo rumaki (Reo Māori immersion teacher) at Pasadena Intermediate.

If you are plan to study a Graduate Diploma in Teaching or Bachelor of Education (Teaching), a TeachNZ Scholarship could support your teaching journey by covering your fees and paying you an allowance of up to $30,000 while you study. Find out more and apply.