Following her passion

After working full-time for many years, Amy Isaacs (Ngāpuhi) reached a point in her life where she wanted to make a change, and do something for herself that she enjoyed.

That decision led Amy on a study journey with Open Polytechnic where she is currently studying towards a Graduate Diploma in Strategic Management.

“I decided I wanted to study the Graduate Diploma in Strategic Management to increase my management knowledge and expand on my existing experience gained in a previous role managing a childcare centre,” explains Amy 

“Studying has really opened up my way of thinking, helping me think more professionally and strategically about management processes,” says Amy.  

Once Amy completes her Graduate Diploma in Strategic Management, she hopes to gain employment that will allow her to apply the skills that she has learned throughout her studies.

Serving the Community

Before taking on management study, Amy completed a diploma and degree in the library field.

“I was passionate about reading books and always enjoyed going to the library, so in 2014, I decided to enrol in the Diploma of Information and Library Studies with Open Polytechnic, who at the time was the only education provider in New Zealand to offer this course,” explains Amy.   

Amy soon developed an enthusiasm for what she was learning and knew right away she wanted to go on to do the degree. She completed the Bachelor of Arts (Information and Library Studies) in 2015.           

There’s not only a personal benefit for Amy in completing her library qualifications, her local community has benefitted too.      

“Studying the Bachelor of Arts (Information and Library Studies) has helped me with my voluntary work at my local community library, and allowed me to contribute ideas on how library processes could be improved,” says Amy.

Financial support   

Affordability and the value of the programmes Amy studied was a key factor in choosing to study with Open Polytechnic, New Zealand’s leading distance, and online education provider.   

“Studying with the Open Polytechnic via distance learning was good as it suited my budget and I knew I would be receiving the same type of education as other students studying elsewhere who physically had to go to a campus.”        

Amy received a Kua Hii Ake te Ata Study Award in 2015, a scholarship offered by Open Polytechnic to encourage and support Māori students as they complete a qualification.  

“It helped me a lot financially and eased my mind, not having to worry about the financial side of things,” says Amy. “I didn’t have to stress about my fees for the year, and it allowed me to just focus on studying.”          

Amy encourages other Māori students to take advantage of the scholarships and the financial help offered by Open Polytechnic.   

Motivational support

Although Amy has enjoyed her learning journey and the accomplishments she has achieved during her studies, it has not come easy.   

“It was difficult towards the end of my studies because I had enough and was ready to give up,” explains Amy. “My friends and family sat me down and encouraged me. They reminded me why I was doing it and pointed out the reasons why I should carry on. They also reminded me about all the money and the effort I put in [to studies] so far.” 

The encouragement from her lecturers also came at the right time when Amy needed it most.

“Lecturers would send out weekly notices to students saying we were doing well and progressing really well through the course, this really encouraged me,” says Amy.   

Life changing

Right from the start of her studies, Amy set herself a study goal and was determined to achieve it. 

“I gave myself three years to complete all studies. I finished the degree earlier than I anticipated and chose to study the Graduate Diploma in Strategic Management.”

Amy is well on track to achieving her three-year goal, and if all goes well, she will complete her management diploma by the end of 2017.   

Studying has been a life changing experience for Amy. “I have become a more organised person and feel like I now look at things a bit differently,” says Amy. “I believe everyone can study there are always options there. It will be difficult but if you want to do it, go for it, there’s a lot of support out there to help you on your way.”

If you are interested in applying for the Kua Hii Ake te Ata Study Award or would like more information please visit


Studying has really opened up my way of thinking.