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Four people sitting on beach towel

2020, that's a wrap!

Just like what's happening to gifts right now, right across the motu we are wrapping up 2020 at Te Pūkenga and celebrating the end of the learning year. It was a year of challenge, opportunity and a wall of work. We've leaned into the opportunities and risen to the many challenges - and we couldn't have got there without collaborating and supporting each other.

The Te Pūkenga team, along with people from subsidiaries and transitional ITOs, have made significant progress and worked tirelessly towards the reimagining of vocational education in New Zealand. Now it's time for us to take a break, to take stock, re-set and have a well-earned rest for a couple of weeks before we boomerang straight back into it in 2021.

We asked people around the network to sum up 2020 and tell us what they're looking forward to this Christmas and in 2021.

Karen Te Puke, DCE Customer Experience and Engagement at ARA says, "It is the first year of a new role for me, here at Ara so as 2020 comes to a close and using three words to sum up the year - I would say it has been exhilarating, exhausting and exciting. I am looking forward to spending time with family and friends. I haven't seen much of them this year. So saying more to my husband than hi, bye, what's for dinner is something I am really looking forward to - also spending time with our daughter and her fiancé, extended family and friends with no set plans and no rushing off overseas. Bliss! Next year, I'm looking forward to continued opportunities to work collectively across our immediate organisation – that has been a big focus this year at Ara – and across Te Pūkenga. I have loved being part of the Ākonga at the Centre project. There are thousands of great people across our sector and if those who have worked on this project are an example to go by then, our Tauira, and our vast communities are in great hands and hearts.

"Despite all the challenges of 2020, I have seen people and communities pull together to do some amazing things.  People have been generous to each other and supportive of doing things differently.  Growth, flexibility and camaraderie are three words that sum it up,” says Karen.

“I'm looking forward to spending time with friends and whānau, getting out on the lake (and hopefully learning how to finally get up on the wakeboard!). For 2021 I'm looking forward to a fresh start, putting the challenge of 2020 behind us and coming back with a forward-thinking focus," says Jessica Barnett, Head of Marketing, Events and Communication at Toi Ohomai.

Tania Winslade, DCE Learner Journey and Experience at Te Pūkenga says, “It has been a year of opportunity, change and challenge. At the start of 2020, I didn’t envisage I’d finish the year being part of vocational education or moving to the Waikato! During the covid lockdown, I was part of Auckland Emergency Management serving our communities in Tāmaki, which was a good reality check about what is important and where I want to spend my energy. Post-covid, life-long learning in ways that work for our learners is even more important than ever, so I’m pleased to be part of Te Pūkenga’s leadership team. I’m looking forward to the break to get outdoors and explore the Waikato with my whānau.

“I’m looking forward to working further across our network, with our staff, and our learners. The team has been hard at work with the Ākonga at the Centre project and we’ve started to lay some good foundations. I’ve already met some great people who are passionate about getting things right for our future learners so I’m really looking forward to finding ways that we come together to harness those skills in 2021.”

Sue Murray, Regional Engagement Facilitator Toi Ohomai (Taupo) told us, "I’m counting down the days for 2020 to come to a close. It’s been stressful, exhausting and bewildering at times. I’m going to be relaxing by the sea and catching fish for tea on my break. I’m going to leave 2020 behind and am looking forward to a happy new start in 2021.”

Warwick Quinn, DCE Employer Journeys at Te Pūkenga says, “2020 feels like a game of two halves really…firstly, “the COVID” and its impact which changed, well, everything at the start of the year, but light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines on the way by the end of it. And aren’t we all glad the way NZ dealt with it has avoided all the dramas that are still unfolding around the world? Well done us. And secondly, Te Pūkenga. In January I was at BCITO minding my own business, in November I’m at Te Pūkenga. Two halves of two halves. During the summer break, I’m looking forward to having some sense of normality/grounding following one of the most turbulent years we have experienced. Doing what we usually do over Christmas, going away, playing golf, catching up with friends and family, playing golf, chasing warm sunny weather (hey I’m from Wellington) … and did I mention playing golf?... gee this time last year I was at the President’s Cup, that feels like a lifetime ago. I view 2021 as ‘moving day’ – lesson: in golf that is the Saturday before the final round on Sunday where everyone makes their move to set themselves up to win. Next year is huge for Te Pūkenga, it will be our ‘moving day’ …can’t wait. Oh, and being able to travel overseas again – but I’m not holding my breath on that one.”

Barbara West, Student Disability & Wellbeing Advisor at EIT, says, “It is the end of another busy year which has been extraordinary, eventful and tiring. I’m having some downtime, spending it with family and friends and getting some sun and surf."

“On the continuum of life 2020 has certainly been a set of extremely uncertain challenges for all of us. From that has come a lot of grief and hardship for many but also I am hoping that some of the positive stuff we experienced and practised in 2020 will continue. For me that's wrapped up in 3 words:

Whānau - seeing that wairua that we can contribute to in our immediate family and wider groups

Faith - believing in something more than us just as individuals but being part of a wider hapori with enough shared kaupapa to unite us

Education - this is what will make the difference in years to come.

E whakapono ana ahau

Mā te momo o te whāngai i te mātauranga

Ka angitū te tangata, me tōna hapori anō hoki

I believe that by being deliberate in our educational delivery we not only set ourselves up for success but that too for our community.

I’m looking forward to spending time with my wife and whanau. That's going to involve time at the beach, reading and a hikoi around the north island visiting whanau. And in 2021, continuing the mahi we have started this year. We have a momentum supported by the right kaupapa. It’s exciting what we will achieve for our hapori, ākonga and whānau.” says Phil Alexander-Crawford, Interim Operational Manager, Partnerships & Equity, Te Pūkenga.

Ric Carr, Senior Lecturer, Toi Ohomai says he is looking forward to this year coming to a close. “It’s been a learning curve, challenging but a disjointed year. I’m heading to the hills in the South Island for summer and am looking forward to an uninterrupted work year when I return.”

Natascha Diggelmann, Team Leader, information Centre (Tauranga) Toi Ohomai says 2020 has been a tough year, “Three words to sum up 2020 for me would be virtual working, interesting, challenging. I’m walking the Abel Tasman over summer, unplugged - away from phones, people and technology. I’m looking forward to continuing on the internal changes aligned with flexible working and starting afresh next year.”

Hear from more staff and learners across the Te Pūkenga network about their highlights from 2020 and what they're looking forward to in the coming year.

Ngā mihi o te wā Kirihimete me te tau hou hoki.
Kia tau ngā āhuatanga o Hineraumati ki runga i a koutou.
Nā mātou o Te Pūkenga.

This page was last updated 14 December 2020

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