Masters students

LiWen Choy

Architecture student LiWen Choy in Architecture studio

The Summer Research Scholarship was an opportunity to discover a deep interest for new forms of technology in architectural representation. The support and insight I gained gave me the confidence to pursue postgraduate study.

After completing a Summer Research Scholarship at the University, LiWen research explored architecture and film for his Master of Architecture (Professional) thesis. LiWen is now working as a Concept Designer at Weta Workshop in Wellington.

“I would like my research to contribute to a critical understanding of film practice and architecture. I hope it will enable architectural students to expand their research into these fields, and pursue careers in the entertainment industry.

“The masters programme provides an important incubation period for students discovering their voice as designers. I needed time to discover a potential career as a production designer/art director in the entertainment industry. Postgraduate study has given me the freedom to experiment with potential interests, while providing guidance along a strong backbone of architectural inquiry.

“I have met great people during my time as a masters student; some will become lifelong friends and many move on to amazing endeavours. I have learnt something from each person and that is what I cherish the most.”

Chloe Manga (Ngāti Kahu and Te Rarawa)

Law student Chloe Manga

I am really grateful to have a supportive supervisor who has given me freedom to write about issues of personal and academic importance to me.

Chloe is studying towards a Master of Laws. Her research on the need to secure greater legal recognition for Māori rights uses the experiences of her own iwi, Ngāti Kahu, as a case study. 

“I have always been passionate about Māori and indigenous rights and my work as an undergraduate research assistant on two Marsden projects (Onscreen Indigeneity: The case of Māori Television; and The Claimants’ views on the Treaty Settlement Process) influenced my decision to pursue postgraduate studies and in particular, in the area of Māori legal issues and on the premise that I had the freedom to write from a more anthropological basis for my master’s thesis. 

“I am fortunate to have support and access to materials that detail perspectives and experiences of Ngāti Kahu in the settlement process. This adds a unique insight into what is a very important legal and political issue. I hope my research can encourage further discussion on these issues, and perhaps, how these same ideas can be applied to Māori legal rights generally. 

“Being involved with Te Rakau Ture (Māori Law Students Association) and Ngā Tauira Māori (Māori Students Association) has made my experience as a young Māori woman at the University an enjoyable and worthwhile one. I am also grateful for the expertise, guidance and support of the academics here.

 “I am stoked to have Dr Claire Charters as my supervisor: a successful Māori woman who is extremely knowledgeable in Māori and indigenous legal issues. Claire has been amazing and very supportive of not only my ideas, but my journey throughout. For me, having a Māori legal woman as my supervisor was very important. When I explain my ideas and my experiences, I do not feel isolated or as if I’m an ‘other’. Being Māori also, she is part of this worldview, she lives and breathes it every day – she ‘gets it’.”

Moira Clunie

student Moira Clunie

This programme is providing a space to reflect on and deepen my practice. It is a great mix of theory and practical application: allowing us to incorporate our work experience and lived knowledge with what we know from the evidence and published work.

Moira is studying towards a Master of Social and Community Leadership.

“Over the last decade, I’ve held leadership roles in non-profit organisations. A common thread in this work has been change: designing for social change, making changes in the way organisations and systems work, and supporting people to change their attitudes and behaviours. This programme appealed to me because of its grounding in social justice and ethics, and its blend of social innovation, leadership and formal research skills. I also like how the programme is structured to allow a wide range of choices to support different professional interests.

“I’m planning to undertake my thesis on suicide prevention, focusing on community-led responses from rainbow/LGBTI+ communities. Despite being at significantly higher risk of suicidal behaviour than other groups in New Zealand, the rainbow population is not well recognised or resourced within national suicide prevention efforts. I currently work in this area and have been directly engaged with the issue of rainbow suicide prevention for the last six years. Because of this, I’m anticipating that my research will have direct practical application in informing how programmes and advocacy approaches are developed.

“It’s been exciting to be part of the first group to undertake this masters programme. There has been real scope for getting to know where my classmates have come from and what they are interested in. We’ve formed connections that have been supportive and fun.”

Clark Tipene (Ngāpuhi)

Arts student Clark Tipene

The best thing about postgraduate study is the ability to study something you are interested in. It requires a lot of discipline, determination and grit, but it’s worth it.

After completing a Summer Research Scholarship examining the Social Attitudes Survey on citizenship and political attitudes and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at the University of Auckland, Clark is now undertaking a Master of Arts in Sociology.

Clark’s masters research looks at the ways young New Zealanders think about their own political participation. 

“Doing a summer scholarship showed me how challenging – and therefore rewarding – research can be. It made sense to continue studying for a masters since I’ve always enjoyed learning new things.

“By interviewing young people across New Zealand, I’m getting welcome insight into the reasons why they are reluctant to vote, but more eager to participate in other ways. One of the most important flow-on effects of my research is how we can get young people more politically engaged and involved. That’s useful not only for political parties but also policy analysts, media and the general public.

“I intend to pursue doctoral studies in the near future, which I think will be the ultimate test of everything I’ve learnt over the past five years. During my time at University, I’ve been a Teaching Assistant and Tuākana mentor, and eventually I want to make a career of teaching because it’s what I enjoy doing most.

 “At University, we get the rare privilege of spending our time trying to make the world a better place. Auckland has been a great place to do that.”

Clark is a recipient of a University of Auckland Māori Postgraduate Scholarship and a Dean of Arts Masters Thesis Scholarship.

Andy Cosgrove

Student Andy Cosgrove in the University’s Health and Performance Clinic

Unlike similar programmes, this masters allows students to have active experience with clinical clients. It makes the programme challenging and offers an invaluable opportunity.

Andy is an international student from the US who has recently completed a Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology, which combines taught courses and a dissertation with practical training in the University’s Health and Performance Clinic.

“The exercise physiology field is incredibly broad, and the programme allows for a wide range of experiences and exposure, letting you discover what parts are most interesting and exciting. The programme offers an academic and professional environment to build the knowledge and practical skills necessary for certification as a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) or Clinical Exercise Physiology New Zealand (CEPNZ), including all of the practical hours.

“My particular interests have focused on cardiac and cancer rehabilitation. Those who have undergone cancer treatment are often left with lasting effects and in serious need of long-term recovery options after the harsh treatments of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are completed.

My end goal is to own a fitness centre, where part would be dedicated to helping people, such as cancer patients, better their own health once it has taken a hit.

“The adjustment to postgraduate study is a big one. I used several of the Library services, including support with database research and reference management tools, which helped me bridge the technology gap from my undergraduate study 12 years ago. As well as the professors, who are there for advanced guidance, one of the greatest resources has been my classmates. They are the start of my professional network; they each have different strengths and interests, making them the best sounding boards for working things through.”

Andy was supported in his study by a Post 9/11 GI-Bill – US Veterans Benefit.

Kevin Jing

Business student Kevin Jing

My friends who have a Master of Commerce encouraged me to take this opportunity, although none of them said it was easy. I think this is the experience of a lifetime.

Kevin is a Master of Commerce in Finance student from China. He is researching the potential impact of political connections on the valuation of Chinese-listed firms.

“Connections between businesses and governments are prevalent all over the world. While most existing studies focus on the US market, my research may provide novel evidence for the potential impact of political connections. Proving such impact could help Asian investors to converge mainstream finance theories, and more importantly, price firms more accurately.

 “Postgraduate study at the University of Auckland has offered me the opportunity to learn from world-class leading researchers, work closely with top performing students, and improve myself in all aspects. I’ve also had so much help from the postgraduate advisers: they have provided excellent advice with course planning and have been supportive throughout my postgraduate studies.”