Wed 24 Jun 2020

Teresa follows her heart into cooking

From enrolling in Level 3 Cookery in 2018 to completing three levels of qualification this year, Teresa’s been on a real journey at WITT.


“My heart has always been in cooking,” she said. “I chose to study at WITT because I wanted to build a better future for my daughter (13), as well as following my heart and my passion. It was a step towards some of my short term and long term goals around working with food.”


Although Teresa continued to study at WITT for around two years, she says the initial decision to enrol happened quite quickly.


“I called up to find out more about the course about two weeks before classes started, and I ended up enrolling in the Level 3 Cookery programme. A couple of years later, I have achieved the New Zealand Certificate in Cookery, Levels 3, 4 and 5 as well as my City & Guilds qualification."


Teresa said one of the best things about her time at WITT was the people she met.


“I made some great friendships and really enjoyed working alongside so many like-minded people,” she said.


“I’m a pretty motivated person, so when I set myself a goal I strive to achieve it. But along the way, life happens. There were times when I questioned whether I wanted to be studying, but the support of my tutor Goonjan was amazing. Without her I would have probably chucked in the towel. Some of the chats I had with [then chaplain] Tuari Reweti also supported me to keep my eyes on the prize and just keep going."


After completing her industry placement at a local cafe, Teresa was offered employment there following her studies. She said it has been a great opportunity to experience many areas of the business including front and back of house.


“I would love to own my own catering business one day,” she said. “But in the short term I have been keeping an open mind about opportunities in the industry, as I know doors could open to work in places I would never imagine.


“I’m looking forward to a new opportunity which will allow me to combine my love for being busy in the kitchen, with an interest in learning and sharing more about food and where it comes from.”


Teresa said that she hopes sharing her story will inspire others to find what they love and turn it into a career.


“As a Māori woman, I’m proud of having set my goals and achieved them. It might be a juggle, but if you manage your time well and enjoy the study while you can, it can be done. Plus it’s a bonus to have holidays at the same time as your kids!


“Māori people are proud people,” she said, “but for some of us we can lack the self-confidence to work towards what we truly love. Everyone has their skills and abilities, and there is something out there that’s right for each of us.


"Anything is possible if you find what you love and follow it through. It’s totally worth it."