Chasing the drafting dream

Studying with the Open Polytechnic is a whānau affair for New Zealand Diploma in Architectural Technology student and Kua Hii Ake te Ata Study Award recipient Reuben Munro.

Reuben (Ngati Kahungunu ki Heretaunga) began studying with the Open Polytechnic in 2015 while juggling working full-time and raising his young daughter.

With his wife and brother also studying online and by distance through Open Polytechnic, Reuben says his family are naturally very understanding and supportive.

Reuben, who is now self-employed and works as a Licensed Building Practitioner in Nelson,says he discovered a passion for drafting after completing his first qualification in visual arts and design.

“I studied visual arts and design in the Hawke’s Bay, which is where I am originally from,” Reuben says. “After I finished studying I worked in a few jobs in the industry and then started using Computer-aided Design (CAD) software and really enjoyed it.”

Moving online

After making the decision to study again and pursue his goal Reuben needed to pick a tertiary provider.

While looking online Reuben came across the Open Polytechnic’s New Zealand Diploma in Architectural Technology, which he could study online and by distance while continuing to work full-time.

“That seemed like the best course to do while working,” Reuben says. “We had also just moved to Nelson to be closer to my wife’s family and we weren’t completely sure we were going to stay, so I liked the idea of being able to study by distance anywhere we lived in the country.”

Reuben says because he had studied through a polytechnic before he knew he preferred that style of learning.

“I knew the style of teaching that the polytechnics do, it’s hands-on, which I like,” he says. “I really like the Open Polytechnic’s way of doing things and everything being online.

“I find classes quite draining so doing it online I find that I focus more and get more done.”

End goal in sight

Getting qualified and one day starting a business with his wife is good motivation for completing the qualification, Reuben says.

“It is a big motivator for me,” he says. “Having a long term goal for doing the course definitely gives you drive.

“One day I would like to be designing houses for people and my wife would like to design the interiors and the landscaping.”

Working with people is the best part about being an architectural technician, Reuben says.

“You get to see their ideas come to life and see how happy they are with the finished product,” he says.

Even though Reuben already works in the industry he says having a qualification is crucial.

“You often do jobs on a day-to-day basis just to finish them. Whereas with my study I get to put my ideas down on paper and learn new things.

“I have learnt heaps of new stuff.”

Fitting in study

Juggling a full-time job, a newborn baby, study and other commitments has been challenging, Reuben says.

“I have just finished one of the hardest papers and in the end I just needed to hand it in,” he says. “I didn’t realise how much work a new born really was. You can’t really schedule anything because they do things whenever they want. It was a bit of a shock to the system.”

Reuben says he works during the day and when he gets home he spends time with his family before hitting the books.

“I do a lot of my study at night from 9pm till midnight,” he says.

Award recipient

In 2017 Reuben says he was ‘stoked’ to be awarded Open Polytechnic’s Kua Hii Ake te Ata Study Award.

“They emailed out and I decided it was something I could apply for,” Reuben says. “I was stoked to get it because our new born had just arrived.

“Money was a bit tight so it really helped out at a time when we needed it.”

The Kua Hii Ake te Ata Study Awards are aimed at encouraging and supporting Māori students towards completing a Level 4 or above qualification.

Reuben says he would ‘definitely’ encourage others to apply for it next time.

Having a long term goal for doing the course definitely gives you drive.