When I was growing up there was never any doubt that I was going to go to university.

The only doubtful thing was what I was going to study. My parents had from an early age always had an expectation that I would go to uni, so it seemed like a natural progression upon leaving school.

Whereas this was the norm for me and my whanau, I know that it is not something that is even thought about or discussed for quite a large number of Maori students and whanau.

While university definitely isn't for everyone, I'm a firm believer in encouraging all learners to get the best education possible.


It is interesting to think that, in my youth, university was the only pathway I considered and as a reasonably bright kid I was expected to do well there.

However, it's only as I've grown older that I've realised that there were a whole lot of other options available that I didn't even consider, such as owning my own business, learning a trade or becoming some sort of entrepreneur.

The education needed by our kids has to prepare them for a pace-changing technological world. Whereas in my parents' day people chose a career and had it for their entire lives, our kids may change career directions five or six times. It's scary for me to think that many of the jobs that my kids may do in the future don't even exist yet.

Many of the jobs that are currently being done by people will be automated.

That may mean more jobs for those that work in the field of robotic automation and engineering and in jobs that haven't even been invented yet.

As I mentioned in an earlier article, I eventually chose science as my education pathway, but I had an early interest in studying medicine and had contemplated going down to Otago.

I was very pleased to learn earlier this week that the head girl from Karamu High School - Yahaira Williams - has won a scholarship worth up to $50,000 to study medicine at the Auckland School of Medicine.

The scholarship covers university fees for three years and provides a small stipend. When asked what had influenced her choice of study Yahaira has this to say: "I love science, but didn't really like experiments. But I found that I did like mentoring and helping people.


"Eventually I figured I'd like to help people for the rest of my life."

Yahaira will be the first in her immediate family to attend university and credits the support of her family as the key to her academic success - "I'm doing it to make them proud."

Congratulations Yahaira, we are expecting great things in your future.

* Dr Adele Whyte is the chief executive officer for Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated.