Maxine Hemi is here to ensure Wairarapa students have the support needed to achieve their goals.
Maxine (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne) joined the UCOL Wairarapa team in 2019 as an Early Childhood Education Lecturer and Literacy and Numeracy Tutor. She has over 30 years of experience in education, having taught every level from early childhood to tertiary and worked as a principal. Maxine also worked at the Ministry of Education, where she led programmes in schools to accelerate literacy and mathematics in priority learners and integrate Māori history in the New Zealand curriculum.
In early 2020, Maxine took on the role of Kaitūhono Tauira (Student Engagement Coordinator) as she saw it as an opportunity to help more Wairarapa students gain qualifications.
“My commitment is always to the students. This job appealed to me because I want to support all students to get through their courses, instead of me focusing on one cohort as I did last year.”
“I’m born and bred in the Wairarapa. My ancestors are here and I want to be a good ancestor. I want to help raise the skills capability in our region to raise the quality of life in our community. Our students shouldn’t have to go outside of the Wairarapa to learn. If we want a thriving, participating and contributing community we must grow our own. Grow Wairarapa for Wairarapa and help our economy grow.”
As Kaitūhono Tauira, Maxine’s job is to make sure students have the support they need to be successful in the classroom. She helps students set goals and identify obstacles they need to overcome. Maxine often connects students with outside organisations such as healthcare providers, iwi groups, and childcare providers so they can focus on their study during the day.
“Knowing where support is outside of UCOL helps keep students engage with their studies. It’s about keeping their wairua (spirits) intact and removing barriers to study. Physical and mental health are a big part of that, so I liaise with different outside organisations to ensure students’ health needs are met.”
Going forward, Maxine wants to help build the social energy on Wairarapa’s campus, with more activities and opportunities for students to build strong relationships.
“It has been a natural fit for me to join the Te Atakura Wairarapa team as my values align and we are focused on sustaining people’s culture. I want our students to leave not as consumers, but to be creators.”
Whaia te iti kahurangi
Ki te tūohu koe
Me he maunga teitei
Strive for the highest peak
If you should falter
Let it be to the loftiest mountain