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Ara-Te Pūkenga provides a foray into the future for school students

14 December, 2022

Hundreds visit campus for a taste of tertiary study


Traditionally it’s time for tertiary campuses to wind down with classes wrapping and assignments being signed off – but Ara-Te Pūkenga’s City Campus has been alive with fresh faces and new discoveries.

Students from schools across the Canterbury region have been piling off buses and taking tours of classrooms, workshops, studios, and labs, finding inspiration for career paths to come.

Marvelling at the modern contemporary design facilities in the modern Kahukura building, Villa Maria College student Marissa said she had no idea how big the campus was. “I guess I’m only Year 10, but I really have no idea what I am going to do when school finishes so I’m keen to learn new things,” she said.

Choosing samples for an interior design exercise, classmate Jasmine enjoyed getting hands on.

“It’s so good to see the resources here and to see the entire campus,” Jasmine said. “I’ve not been here before.”


Villa Maria College Kaiawhaaka mahi/Careers Advisor Justine Chinnery said students benefit hugely from the Taster Days at Ara, being able to see the vocational programmes on offer, get familiar with the environment and connect with staff and lecturers.

“The activities are outside of what we would do in the school curriculum, and they give students the opportunity to decide if they like this style of learning,” Chinnery said. “Villa Maria College has many students currently enrolled at Ara - some try a different tertiary provider first but end up enrolling as the hands-on learning suits them better.”

More than 500 students from schools across Canterbury have signed up for the end of year events over the past fortnight which aim to expose students to new areas of study and build a foundation for future connections with Ara’s Youth Engagement team.

Youth and Community Development Representatives Liv King and Blair Kaad said it’s a good time to build relationships particularly with the Year 10s before their focus turns to NCEA and to provide help with the big question: ‘what do I want to do with my life’.

“We can help nurture ideas for the future as ākonga make subject choices for their senior years, which in turn can impact their future options,” King said. “Through exposure, trialling and participation in different subject areas, tauira can start to see where their interests lie and where those areas can lead career-wise.”


Kaad added that the events pathway into further opportunities for students in their later years of high schooling. “Experience Ara, Dual Enrolment and sub-degree certificates and diplomas, allow ākonga engagement with us to shift from a broad, hands-on start to more subject-specific experiences and qualifications,” he said.

Year 10 student Eva summed up her experience in a sentence.

“It’s just so good to learn new study options and try things I haven’t done before.”