Dan Hikuroa continues to use the skills he learnt in the Tuākana programme in his career as a senior lecturer.
Career: Earth systems scientist
Programme: Bachelor of Science majoring in Geology (now Earth Sciences), PhD in Geology (now Earth Sciences)
“I am currently a senior lecturer in Māori Studies Te Wānanga o Waipapa, University of Auckland, teaching a course on Tikanga and contributing to courses in natural hazards and disasters, and the Science Scholars programme in the Faculty of Science.
"I am working on many research projects that seek to realise the dreams or solve issues for Māori communities.
“I am involved in a number of community roles, including: hāpu representative member on both the Waitomo Caves Management Committee and Waitomo Caves Environmental Advisory Group; independent scientific adviser for various iwi and hapū and on the Science Advisory Panel for the SouthSci Participatory Science Platform project.
"I also serve on the Statutory Māori Advisory Board for the Environmental Protection Authority, Environmental Advisory Group for Watercare and as science adviser for Foundation North.
“As a student, I was involved with the Tuākana programme both as a teina and as a mentor. Back then (in Geology), the programme was run on an ‘aroha’ basis, where Stage IV students would mentor and provide practical, tutorial-type assistance to the Stage III students; Stage III students would mentor and provide practical, tutorial-type assistance to the Stage II students, and so on.
“One of the benefits of this approach was that the students who had most recently sat the tests and written the assignments were best placed to assist. We never had large numbers of Māori in Geology, so another benefit was that it encouraged a real whanau atmosphere.
“While it is impossible for me to quantify whether my involvement in the Tuākana programme has contributed to my career trajectory, I can definitely say that it assisted me in achieving my degree, and some of the skills I learnt as a Tuākana I continue to use today."