Ngatiriti Eparaima-Hautapu was fortunate enough to be awarded the Tawera Scholarship in her third year of University. She had a pretty good feeling about the direction she wanted to head in and in her abilities to pursue it.
Ngatiriti attended Turakina Māori Girls College which had a profound influence on how she saw herself as a wahine Māori. It truly anchored her self-worth in our Māori philosophies and showed her that she could be whoever she wanted to be, and she could do whatever she wanted to do.
She is a quarter way into a two-year contract with Waikato Tainui as a Business Analyst. She previously lived in Nelson where she worked at Wakatū Incorporation and Kono as an HR Advisor. She can’t speak highly enough of the people and experience she gained while at Wakatū. She says, “in that small pākeha-dominated town you will find world-class Māori leaders, some of the best you will ever meet”.
Working with Māori has always been an aspiration of Ngatiriti’s and being able to contribute to a purpose she feels passionately about is genuinely the most fulfilling thing for her. She tries to see the good in every person and she tries to learn from others. Along her journey, she has learnt about hard work without complaint, generosity without expectation, and kindness in all situations. Living her values and understanding how she can leave the world in a better place is how she strives to live her life. She hopes to one day be in a position where she is leading positive change.
The value of being a TPWT alumni is without a doubt being able to find meaningful connections with others who share a mutual desire to improve outcomes for our people. It is such a powerful advantage to have when you are navigating this road of finding your calling. It helps a lot that Karleen is so respected and admired and it gives you a bit of credibility when putting yourself forward for opportunities.
Since the scholarship, Ngatiriti has been offered opportunities to attend the FOMA30 Conference and Huihuinga Wahine Conference. She’s met Māori business leaders, indigenous business leaders, CEOs, business owners, and MPs and even got her first job through the support of TPWT whānau. Ngatiriti has been lucky and is grateful for all the wonderful opportunities she has had through this network.
“The reward has been the recognition for my efforts and security to go forward with conviction. Have the courage to pursue your dreams despite fears”.