In each edition of Link News we SPOtlight one of our SPO Schools Advisers.

Mere Mansell

Tēnā koutou 

Ko Hikurangi te maunga 

Ko Waiapu te awa 

Ko Ngāti Porou te iwi 

Ko Rangitūkia te takiwā 

Ko Hinepare te marae 

Ko MereArihia tōku ingoa 

Kia ora tātou katoa. 

Kia ora everyone. 

I’m Mere, one of the Schools Advisers here in the Schools Partnership Office. I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself and let everyone know that in 2021 I’ll be based again in Wellington. 

I was raised in Gisborne before my whānau moved to Rotorua, where I attended high school. 

I still remember when two University of Auckland Schools Advisers visited my high school, Western Heights. That was the start of my journey with the University of Auckland. After finishing school, I decided that Auckland would be the place for me, so I moved up to the big smoke to enrol in a Bachelor of Science, with a double major in Biological Sciences and Geography. 

In my first year of University I worked part time as a student blogger for The Inside Word, writing about my first-year experiences. (The Inside Word is an SPO blogsite aimed at helping school leavers get an insight into university life.) This eventually led to more part-time work as a UniRep, where I got to attend different school events alongside the SPO team at the time. 

For me, deciding to attend university was quite a nerve-wracking experience, so being able to work with students who were facing similar concerns and worries was really rewarding. When the opportunity to work for SPO full time came up, I jumped at the chance. It was really a no brainer. 

I joined the SPO team in February of 2017 and graduated with my Bachelor of Science in March of 2017. For the last four years I’ve been very fortunate to work with many different schools, from the top of the North Island right down to the bottom of the South Island. This role has allowed me to travel to new places and meet really awesome students across the country. I have worked closely with schools in Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel, Canterbury, Dunedin, Southland and Central Otago, as well as helping out at events in other parts of New Zealand. 

At the beginning of 2020 our team were really excited to trial having an adviser based in Wellington. In March of 2020, I packed up my bags and made the move down to our capital, eager to launch something new and excited to work with a new region. And then COVID hit. 

Fortunately, 2021 has given us a fresh start and another chance to kick start a Wellington-based role, which is great because I’m still getting used to the Wellington weather. The University of Auckland office is based in the city on Waring Taylor Street. I am always happy to meet up for a coffee and a catch up, so please let me know if you’re in town! I am excited for what 2021 has to bring and am really looking forward to working more closely with schools in the wider Wellington region. 

Discover the whole team in the Schools Partnership Office.