Kyle Barrett-Wilson

Introduce yourself and tell us what you do for a job?

He uri tēnei nō Kāi Tahu ki Arowhenua. My name is Kyle and I’m the Pou Ārahi (Chief Māori Advisor) at the Tertiary Education Commission. My job is to ensure we develop policies, systems and frameworks using te ao Māori ways of thinking.

What brings you joy in your job?

I love teaching people about te ao Māori and te reo Māori, I just wish I had more time to teach! What is particularly rewarding about this mahi for me is creating work that leaves a lasting and positive impact for Māori communities.

Why did you want to be an Inspiring the Future role model?

I believe it is important that rangatahi understand how valuable and transferable their skill sets are, and how even at a young age they should, and can, see themselves in unique career pathways. There are no limits on who rangatahi can dream of being.

Did you face any challenges to get where you are now?

Moving through the education system there was a lack of transitional support for me post-secondary study, and finding a career post-tertiary study. This is one of the many things that drives me to create change within the system.

Tell us about a memorable moment at your Inspiring the Future event.

The most memorable part of the event for me was the look on the kids’ faces when they realised they could use Māori in work. There was almost an expectation from the kids that they would have to “stop being Māori” to join the workforce. It was awesome to be able to provide them an example of how I use te reo and tikanga Māori in my career.

The biggest “ah!” moment was definitely when the kids realised a degree in Māori studies was a very financially viable career choice. One of the kids said “that’s where the money is” – mission accomplished.