Thu 8 Apr 2021

Kaiaawhina add to experience for new students

Bright teal green t-shirts and friendly smiles made the Kaiāwhina team pretty hard to miss around campus during the first few weeks of term.

WITT’s first group of Kaiāwhina (student helpers) were employed to assist students as they settled in to tertiary study during the Orientation period, helping with anything from finding a classroom to helping organise free bus travel or parking.

Kaiāwhina are students who have studied at WITT before and understand what new students are going through. It is the first time Kaiāwhina have been part of Orientation, and the positive feedback suggests they’re here to stay.

Bachelor of Nursing student and Kaiāwhina Reham Harbid said in her experience, students were really comfortable asking the Kaiāwhina team anything.

“There was no barrier between us,” she said. “We mainly helped them finding classes and buildings, showing students how to access their timetables, reset passwords and how to print on campus as well as parking permits and any other questions they had.

“I honestly loved it. It was cool seeing people recognise our t-shirts and come up to us with no hesitation. I was pretty honoured to be selected to work as a Kaiāwhina, what I was doing felt rewarding.”

Although the Kaiāwhina are no longer on shift daily, Reham says people got to know who they were and still see them as someone who can help.

“They’re still asking me stuff – they recognise my face even though we aren’t walking around in our shirts anymore.”

Bachelor of Applied Management student Alison Isaac said being involved in students’ orientation as a Kaiāwhina was a great experience.

“I was very honoured to be selected and play a part in helping support students finding their feet in those first couple of weeks of study and ensuring it’s a positive experience for both students and support staff.

“Having the opportunity to be a Kaiāwhina has been another amazing milestone in my WITT journey,” she said. “I’m extremely proud to be one of the first Kaiāwhina aka ‘Teal Team’. May the group live on and be strong!”