Student Stories

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We have over 31,000 students from New Zealand and 40 countries overseas taking advantage of distance and online learning with us each year.

Most are in employment and are studying so they can take the next step in their career.

 

  • Erin Kernohan Small

    Achieving life and career goals

    • Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology)

    The decision to study psychology stemmed from Open Polytechnic graduate Erin Kernohan’s desire to make a difference and impact people’s lives in a positive way.

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    Bright future ahead for scholarship winner

    • Bachelor of Business (Accounting)

    Taranaki resident Kylie Filbee-Cronin juggled working full-time while ticking-off a string of life achievements during her time studying towards a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) with the Open Polytechnic.

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  • Emma Jeffery 137X112

    Dream of tertiary education fulfilled

    • Bachelor of Applied Science (Communication)

    Aucklander Emma Jeffery’s long-held ambition of receiving a tertiary education is now complete after graduating from Open Polytechnic with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Communication).

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    New continent, new career

    • Bachelor of Information Technology

    A passion for information technology and a desire to further his education took Open Polytechnic  Bachelor of Information Technology graduate Herman Engelbrecht from a farming job in South Africa to an IT career in Auckland. 

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  • Moneel web

    Study offers global opportunities

    • Bachelor of Business (Accounting)

    Wellington based Retail Manager and Open Polytechnic graduate Moneel Pratap says his Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting with New Zealand’s leader in distance education has not only enriched his current work, but has opened up career opportunities for him on a global scale. 

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  • Small Joe

    Inspired to grow business further

    • New Zealand Diploma in Business (Level 6)

    Completing his New Zealand Diploma in Business has not only motivated Hamilton based graduate Joseph Cockroft to study further, but has also inspired him to grow his family-owned business.

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    Degree enriches career

    • Bachelor of Business

    For Jeff Goss, completing his four-year journey of part- time study by distance learning with Open Polytechnic was not just about accomplishing his Bachelor of Business, it has also enriched his career, changed his thinking and helped him develop within his current role.

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  • Juliette Broomahll 05e

    Life changing journey

    • Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

    For South Islander Juliette Broomhall, completing her Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) meant that she could achieve a goal she never thought possible, all while exploring her heritage and making a difference in her community. 

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  • Georgia Daals LR

    Striving for academic and athletic success

    • Bachelor of Applied Management

    Often when someone decides to pursue a high level, competitive sport, they are faced with having to make a choice between that passion and other life commitments such as study or work.

    For Wellington’s Georgia Daals however, she was able to simultaneously pursue her successful rugby career and business degree studies thanks to the flexibility she found with Open Polytechnic, New Zealand’s leading provider of online and distance learning.

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  • Emma Harris

    Leading by example

    • Bachelor of Business (Accounting)

    Open Polytechnic accounting graduate Emma Harris’s academic ambition came from the emphasis that her family, and especially her father, put on higher education.  “I was the youngest of seven and being educated was always a priority for my dad but it wasn’t until I was 19 that I really considered it.” 

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  • Jane B Small

    Sowing the seeds for a successful career

    • National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3)

    Having spent twenty years working in accounting, the world of horticulture couldn’t seem further for Wellington’s Jane Boydon. Fuelled by a passion for her own home garden and a hunger to improve her horticultural knowledge, Jane decided to take the leap and enrol in Open Polytechnic’s National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3). 

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  • Jess Bushill Small

    Bringing her studies to life

    • Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

    For Auckland’s Jess Bushill, completing her Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) with Open Polytechnic meant that she could turn her lifelong love of working with children into a successful career as the co-owner of her very own childcare centre. Bumblebees Childcare Centre.

     

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  • Janet Small

    Mental Health Work Placement

    Open Polytechnic Bachelor of Social Work student, Janet Meyer, enjoyed her three month work placement as part of her degree studies.  Story and photo courtesy of South Canterbury District Health Board.

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  • Aaron Small

    Aaron Nicholson

    • National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3)

    Deciding to pursue his long-standing passion for horticulture has had a rosy outcome for Aaron Nicholson. The 45-year old has come out at the top of his Open Polytechnic class in the National Certificate in Horticulture Level 3, and has recently been awarded a scholarship from the National Fuchsia Society of New Zealand to continue his studies. 

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  • Denise Roux Small

    Denise Roux

    • New Zealand Law Society Legal Executive Diploma (Level 6)

    Since landing in New Zealand from South Africa in 2009, Denise Roux has taken her legal career to new heights, recently being named New Zealand’s top legal executive graduate following completion of the New Zealand Law Society Legal Executive Diploma with Open Polytechnic. 

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    Nicola Barry

    • Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences)

    When Christchurch’s Nicola Barry moved to Melbourne in 2010 with her partner, she never would have guessed that she would begin a complete career change while studying abroad with New Zealand’s premier distance learning specialist, Open Polytechnic. 

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    Gareth Jeune

    • New Zealand Diploma in Construction (Level 6) with strands in Construction Management and Quantity Surveying

    As a project and safety Coordinator at Wellington International Airport, Gareth Jeune is instrumental in liaising between the main contractor and the operating airport on multi-million dollar construction projects.

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  • Juri Mizuno

    Juri Mizuno

    • Bachelor of Information Technology

    Juri Mizuno had five years’ work experience in the IT industry before she decided to enrol in the Bachelor of Information Technology through the Open Polytechnic, New Zealand’s distance learning specialist.

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    Lynette Tabuwere

    • Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

    Lynette Tabuwere says that completing her Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) has not only led to realising her dream of becoming a teacher, but has also enabled her to show her family that no matter how old you are, it is possible to undertake tertiary study. 

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    Abigail Willemse

    • Bachelor of Arts (Humanities, and Information and Library Studies)

    Passionate about books, Abigail Willemse had never considered a career in libraries until her last year in school.

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    Claude Emke

    • Bachelor of Social Work

    Open Polytechnic Bachelor of Social Work student, Claude Emke (Ngati Raukawa) says his 20 years’ experience as a social worker is being solidified by working towards finishing his Bachelor of Social work.

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    Tiana Samasoni

    • Bachelor of Arts (Communication)

    Tiana Samasoni’s (Waikato- Tainui) study journey with the Open Polytechnic, New Zealand’s distance learning specialist, started seven years ago, spanned the births of her three sons, has seen her grow her own business, travel and take on new challenges, all while working towards achieving her Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Communication.

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    Te Rangimarie Edwards

    • Bachelor of Applied Science

    With a passion for sport, health and fitness, Te Rangimarie Edwards (Taranaki- Ngaruahinerangi) is gearing up to tackle her next adventure after completing her Bachelor of Applied Science through New Zealand’s distance learning specialist, the Open Polytechnic. 

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    Caitlin Butler

    • Bachelor of Social Work

    Caitlin Butler’s ultimate goal is  to make a difference in the lives of young women, helping support them so that they can reach their full potential and the 22-year-old is working towards her Bachelor of Social Work to get there.

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  • Tia web 1

    Tia Minnoch- video profile

    • Diploma in Child and Adolescent Psychology (Level 6)

    For Diploma in Child and Adolescent Psychology student, Tia Minnoch, online interaction with fellow students, fantastic support from lecturers and the ability to fit in study when and where it suits her is why she is studying through the Open Polytechnic.

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    Daniel Egan

    • Bachelor of Business

    A combination of practical experience and a qualification through the Open Polytechnic, New Zealand’s distance learning specialist, is what helped Daniel Egan achieve his career goals to date.

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    Marie Austin

    • New Zealand Law Society Legal Executive Diploma (Level 6)

    Studying with the Open Polytechnic ignited Marie Austin’s passion for learning, now a qualified Legal Executive after completing the New Zealand Law Society Legal Executive Diploma, she is looking forward to developing her career further.

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    Louise Brewster

    • Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology)

    Completing one degree is hard work, but completing two takes extra commitment and discipline. 

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    Sharon Gordon

    • Graduate Diploma in Professional Accounting (Level 7)

    A desire for personal achievement, dogged determination and support from the Open Polytechnic are the main factors Sharon Gordon attributes to her study success.

     

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  • Webrhonda

    Rhonda Munster

    Rhonda Munster first learned about distance education 40 years ago when her mother studied by correspondence through the Open Polytechnic, although her own study journey took a few twists and turns, this year Rhonda completed her Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in Information Systems and Technology.

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  • IMG 8875 BlairFalconer Web small

    Blair Falconer - Video Profile

    • National Certificate in Electrical Engineering (Advanced Trade) (Level 5)

    In his busy position as wind technician and electrician at Meridian’s West Wind Farm in Makara, Wellington, Blair Falconer says distance learning was the best option for him. As he works to complete his National Certificate in Electrical Engineering, he shares how he fits in study with his hands- on job.

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    James Tala

    • Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Mechanical Engineering)

    From creating engineering drawings to working in cross functional teams and analysing information for review, James Tala says that working towards his Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Mechanical Engineering) has given him confidence in his own ability and a desire to achieve more.

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    Cameron Wendelken

    • Bachelor of Social Work

    The Open Polytechnic Learning Centre provides students with a wide range of learning support, advice and resources. It is this support, and that of his lecturers, which has made all the difference for Cameron Wendelken in his study journey.

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    Grace Loftus

    • Certificate in Public Relations and Communication Management (Level 5)

    The first student to complete a cross-credit towards a Certificate in Public Relations, through the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand’s APR ( Accreditation in Public Relations) programme, Grace Loftus, says her studies have made her more mindful of how communication should work in an organisation. 

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  • Faye Website

    Faye Richards

    • Bachelor of Applied Science (Environment)

    Regardless of your status in life, anyone can study and achieve their goals, says Faye Richards, who has completed her Bachelor of Applied Sciences (Environment). 

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    Lee White

    • Graduate Diploma in Business (Level 7)

    “Make sure the pathway you start on will lead you to where you ultimately want to get”, advice that was given to Lee White by a colleague has seen her work towards a Graduate Diploma in Business through the Open Polytechnic so that, as a nurse manager, she can move forward in her career.

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    Robyn Dyer

    • Certificate in Environment and Sustainability (Level 5)

    A desire to learn more about the environment led Robyn Dyer on a journey that has made an invaluable contribution to her community.

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    Glenn Orsbourne

    • Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

    Glenn Orsbourne knows a lot about foundations, for years he built and altered homes, but the Auckland-based father of four now creates foundations of a different sort, laying down the initial building blocks for future learning as an early childhood teacher, a career transition made possible through studying the Open Polytechnic Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education).

     

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    Elizabeth Charlton

    • Diploma in Records and Information Management (Level 6)

    A guardian of New Zealand’s story, this is how archivist Elizabeth Charlton sees herself and her dedication to learning how to be the best guardian of precious resources motivated her to attend the prestigious 47th Annual Georgia Archives Institute in America. 

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    Donna DeCleene

    • Bachelor of Social Work

    Donna DeCleene (Ngati Kuia) always wanted to do good things with her life.

    However it wasn’t until she completed an online survey to do with her interests and passions that she realised she had the skills and qualities to help others.

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    Alex Wong

    • Bachelor of Social Work

    Alex Wong (Ngāpuhi) enjoys meeting people and helping them out.

    Wanting to turn his passion of working with people into a career, Alex chose the Open Polytechnic Bachelor of Social Work by distance because he can fit study around his current job as a chef and bartender.

    Alex also felt that the degree best matched his interests and will give him good employment prospects.

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    Gillian Budd

    • Certificate in Quality Assurance (Level 5)

    Gillian Budd wanted a qualification that would improve her career prospects and give her new skills for her role as quality assurance officer at Dunedin City Council. However, having left school with no formal qualification, she was nervous about taking the next step into academic study.

    Today, Gillian is proud of achieving the Certificate in Quality Assurance.

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  • SandraJohnson

    Sandra Johnson

    • Bachelor of Business (Management)

    Sandra Johnson is not a woman that lets anything stop her achieving her goals.

    During her time studying by distance for a Bachelor of Business (Management) with Open Polytechnic she coped with sick children, a flooded basement and a power cut on the night before an exam.

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  • Tiana Samasoni137

    Tiana Samasoni

    • Diploma in Communication Studies (Level 5)

    Open Polytechnic Pasifika Study Award recipient Tiana Samasoni first started studying with the Open Polytechnic while on maternity leave in 2008.

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  • SkyeMagic137

    Skye Magic

    After graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree majoring in Human Anatomy and Structural Biology and a Masters in Entrepreneurship from Otago University, Skye moved to Wellington to start her working career.

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  • Shaun Burnett

    Shaun Burnett

    • Certificate in Environmental Management (Level 6)

    Keen deer stalker Shaun Burnett wanted to know more about legislation and how decisions are made in government. So he decided to study for the Open Polytechnic’s Diploma in Environmental Management.

    “I’m really interested in deer and enjoy being involved in the consultation processes with the Department of Conservation, however I wasn’t confident that I knew enough about our conservation framework and environmental legislation.”

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  • SharonMark

    Sharon Mark

    • Bachelor of Arts (Communication)

    A life-long learner, New Plymouth’s Sharon Mark has found a new door opening for her each time she completed a qualification with the Open Polytechnic.

    Originally beginning her learning journey in the 1990s, Sharon then went on to complete an adult education qualification to gain a promotion as a staff trainer and health and safety officer at a local retirement village.

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    Anita Jackson

    • Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil Engineering)

    As a child Anita Jackson always wanted to understand how things work. Completing a Bachelor of Engineering Technology with the Open Polytechnic meant that she could align her interests with a career.

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  • Richard Miller 137x112 web

    Richard Miller

    Graduating in Quantity Surveying from the Open Polytechnic has helped Richard Miller change his career from carpentry to quantity surveying.

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  • Nicola OSullivan web

    Nicola O'Sullivan

    For many people a career change can be a daunting prospect, but for recent graduate of the National Certificate in Real Estate (Salesperson), Nicola O’Sullivan, being able to study through the Open Polytechnic meant she had the flexibility to continue working while gaining her new qualification.

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  • JanelleWilson

    Janelle Wilson

    • Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology)
    • Diploma in Applied Mental Health (Level 6)
    • Diploma in Psychology (Level 5)

    When she took up study with the Open Polytechnic solo Mum Janelle Wilson wanted to show her five kids that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

     

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    Hana Whaanga

    • Diploma in Information and Library Studies (Level 5)
    • Diploma in Information and Library Studies (Level 6)

    Wanting to get the best of both worlds, Hana Whaanga enrolled with the Open Polytechnic so she could have the freedom to choose where and when she studied while she earned a living doing what she loves, working for the community as a librarian.

    Hana, who is of Ngati Kahungunu descent, first tried studying a different field with a local university.  But attending classes full-time while working part-time took her too far away from her real love of being immersed in the library profession.

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    Erica Alefosio

    • New Zealand Law Society Legal Executive Diploma (Level 6)

    Erica Alefosio is a firm believer in the power of education to change lives.  She’s studying with the Open Polytechnic to progress her career in the legal profession, and at the same time role modelling good study habits to her children.

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    Suzanne MacLean

    After working as a real estate salesperson for almost a decade, Suzanne MacLean, wanted to take her career with Barfoot & Thompson to the next level, so she enrolled in the National Diploma in Real Estate (Agent) (Level 5) through the Open Polytechnic.

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    Stephanie Browning

    • Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil Engineering)

    The drive to succeed and “just keep going” kept Open Polytechnic Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil Engineering) graduate, Stephanie Browning, motivated as she juggled finishing her degree on top of full time work, getting married and having a baby.

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    Bayley LuuTomes

    • National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3)

    Since graduating earlier this year with the National Certificate in Horticulture, Bayley LuuTomes gardening career has sky rocketed, winning multiple awards for his landscaping designs both nationally and internationally.

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    Tala Malaki

    • Graduate Certificate in Primary Science Teaching (Curriculum) (Level 7)

    Keen to develop science leadership in the school, Tala Malaki’s principal suggested the Graduate Certificate in Primary Science Teaching (Curriculum) Level 7 to her. Tala took up the challenge and hasn’t looked back.

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    Amanda Cameron

    National Diploma in Architectural Technology graduate, Amanda Cameron’s passion for architecture began as a child building houses from Lego, an interest which only continued to grow with her favourite subject at school -graphics. 

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  • Lila Vagana web

    Lila Vagana

    • Bachelor of Social Work

    After working in mental health for almost two decades, Lila Vagana, with the support of her employer, decided it was time to pursue her degree in social work.

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  • Mark and Catherine

    Mark and Catherine - Video Profile

    • Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

    Meet Mark and Catherine, husband and wife. Both never imagined doing a degree - now they are studying the Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) together! See how they motivate and support each other with their studies.

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  • Mary Ann Newhouse Web

    Mary-Ann - Video Profile

    • Diploma in Child and Adolescent Psychology (Level 6)

    Mary-Ann left school when she was 14. She had no formal education before studying with the Open Polytechnic. Motivated by a better future for her six kids, she took the leap and enrolled. This is her story.

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  • LaChelle screen shot WEB

    La'Chelle - Video Profile

    • Diploma in Public Relations and Communication Management (Level 6)

    Wanting to build her confidence and prove to herself that she could do 'something big', La'Chelle decided to pursue her dream of getting a qualification. Now having graduated with her Diploma in Public Relations and Communication Management, La'Chelle shares her experiences and her study tips.

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    Jo Hawthorne and Eileen Falconer

    • Graduate Certificate in Primary Science Teaching (Curriculum) (Level 7)

    Lower Hutt teachers, Jo Hawthorne and Eileen Falconer are not only inspiring their students through exciting and engaging learning experiences, after completing the Graduate Certificate in Primary Science Teaching( Curriculum)  through the Open Polytechnic, New Zealand’s distance learning specialist, they are more confident within their own teaching practice.

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