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One Big Whanau – ITC Famil Trip June 2013

Posted on 13/07/2013 by

7984_10200988435606771_187003932_nBlog Photo

ITC’s CTT01 and CTT02B recently experienced the famil trip to Rotorua’s Tamaki Maori Village, the Kaitiaki River for whitewater rafting, the Agrodome for some adrenaline-fuelled adventure, and Whanganui National Park’s Blue Duck Station.

Also along on the trip for the first time was ITC tutor Geraldine. Nicknamed “Mama G” by the students, Geraldine had at first been nervous about going; but she soon realised it was best decision she could have made.

“It confirmed to me that I am in the right place helping students achieve their dreams,” says Geraldine. And she appreciated the opportunity to get to know better the students she has been working with for the past 6 months.

“Most of these students have had it rough,” she says, “They have been through so much throughout their lives. This experience opened my eyes and my heart to all of my students. It has taught me that I have to do all that I can to help make a difference so that they too can make a difference within the travel and tourism industry.”

As always on the famil trip, the Tamaki Brothers’ Maori village experience was popular with the students and had a real impact on some.

“I never understood how beautiful Maori culture is until I saw this,” says Neharika.

Mohammed was nominated chief for the evening: “I think that was the most amazing thing I did,” he says. “I was a little bit scared, but it was something I will never forget and the people there were really kind.”

Tonu says he enjoyed learning about the history of the Maori people and the Treaty of Waitangi and was extremely impressed by meeting “people who are actively involved with keeping their culture alive.”

Judith also enjoyed experiencing a place she thought she knew well: “I’ve been to Rotorua, but never explored it like we did at the famil.”

Jessica says that she relished the opportunity “to get to know more about my Maori side; it’s something that I’ll cherish for a lifetime.”

The adventurous nature of the white water rafting and the activities at the Agrodome required courage, and many of the students took the opportunity to challenge their fears.

“I’d never in my whole entire life thought I’d do some of the things I did in Rotorua such as white water rafting,” says Tonu.

“That was the best activity,” says Manpreet, “even though I was really scared and thought I am just about to die, just before the big waterfall!”

Audrey said that the guides were “calming and funny. They made you feel safe. Loved it!”

“I want to thank ITC for this opportunity that got me to experience things that I’ve never done before,” says Loia.

Perhaps most impressive of all was Jessica, who had had a previous accident on the water and didn’t think she would ever do something like that again. “But I had an amazing time white water rafting,” she says. “I also never thought I’d do the Swoop at Agroventures, as I’m really scared of heights, but again I wanted to prove to myself that I can do it.”

And tutor Geraldine also had to confront her fears: “I’m always in front of my class teaching and constantly telling them to take risks. On this famil I had to follow my own preaching. I took a leap faith, which reminded me that I too need to take risks in helping my students be successful in all that they do.”

The beauty of Blue Duck Lodge also made an impression on the students.

“I never knew places like that even existed in New Zealand,” says Phillomina.

“I was blown away by the amazing hidden wonders of New Zealand,” says Neharika.

But what really stood out for the students and their tutor was the way that travel creates a bond between people.

“It was fun going through all the activities together as a group and it was a great opportunity for both classes to get to know one another,” says Siala.

The two groups came together over the course of the trip and shared many stories.

Telesia says that the famil trip changed “a lot of the things I look at in life. I realised that you have no right to judge someone before you have walked through their past. Getting to know each and every one of my classmates brought tears to my eyes – all I can say is you are all very strong and your story can change someone’s life.”

“They all motivate me in some way,” says Jessica. “It’s the encouragement and perseverance that has made me become who I am today. I’m so grateful to have met them all in my life. They are all amazing.”

“God bless each soul that came on this trip!” says Neharika “You’ve all made a space in my heart.”

Or, as Audrey puts it: “We went down as two classes and came back as one big whanau!”

For tutor Geraldine, it has confirmed that she has made the right career choice and that she is where she should be. Thank you ITC for continuing to make a difference in the lives of our students, our community and our country,” she says. “And thank you for this golden opportunity that you give our students to have this amazing experience.”

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Taking a risk on a dream – Geraldine Mailei.

Posted on 10/07/2013 by


“My parents were always on my back to complete a degree in something I love,” says ITC Senior tutor at Botany campus Geraldine Mailei.

“I come from a big family, and I was pretty much the only one who hadn’t completed a degree – No pressure!” she laughs.

It wasn’t until she came to ITC that Geraldine realised that she wanted to be a teacher/trainer.

“ITC gave me the opportunity to do my Certificate in Adult Education level 4; this really motivated me to get a degree.”

Geraldine faced a number of obstacles in achieving her dream.

“I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” she says. I was working full time, I had church responsibilities and two other important roles of mother and wife.”

Geraldine attended a seminar by ITC founder and owner Karen Houston and co-owner Gavin Houston. The seminar inspired her to take a risk in order to achieve her dream.

“That is exactly what I did, I took a risk knowing that there would be so many obstacles in the way. I worked 7 to 8 hours a day and studied at night. I also sacrificed other little activities I normally do such as watching TV, shopping, going to the movies with family and friends to achieve my dream.”

Geraldine says she kept the big picture in mind and worked hard to get there.

“Every time I passed a paper,” she says, “ I told myself that I was a step closer to achieving my dream. I also give so much credit to my amazing husband who stood by me, taking over the household chores such as cooking, cleaning, washing, and ironing so that I could use all the time to study.”

Partway through her studies, another huge obstacle presented itself when her father was diagnosed with cancer. But rather than slowing her down, Geraldine says this pushed her even harder to achieve her degree before he passed away.

“Yes, I cried,” she recalls, “and cried some more going through all of these challenges while trying to keep my head above water. But I am forever grateful that I was able to finish and pass everything a week before he passed away.

Geraldine says that her journey to achieve her degree was difficult but it was “worth all the tears, headache, and pain.”

“I am the person I am today because of this journey I took,” she says. “I am forever grateful to my parents, especially my dad, for believing in me enough to continue to push me.

“Martin Luther King said ‘I have a dream’. If you don’t dream, there is no purpose in your life. Everyone is destined to become a somebody in this world, to make a difference. But in order to achieve that, we have to choose which pathway we want and then take a risk. I always tell my students that anything is possible with the right attitude.”

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Tutor Profile: Tessa Henwood

Posted on 02/07/2013 by

Tessa & her class

ITC’s newest tutor Tessa Henwood tells us about how her love of hospitality and tourism has led her to travel all over the world: and how it all started in a Yorkshire pub.

I was born in the UK, and when I left school I started working as a barmaid in pubs. I met so many interesting people and had so much fun; I just knew I had to pursue a career in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Although I was not very academic I decided to try and gain a qualification, so I enrolled in a Higher National Diploma in Hospitality Management with Tourism. I loved the course; it was so practical and it taught me so many things that I have used in my working career. In the end I stayed on an extra year to complete the Hospitality Business Management Degree. I graduated with a First Class Honours degree, which is one of my proudest achievements.

After university I just wanted to see the world! I worked hard, saved money and went traveling to as many amazing places as I could. Wherever I went, whether it was Cuba or Peru, Europe or Africa, I enjoyed amazing adventures and learned so much about myself.

After landing in New Zealand, I travelled for a year, working my way around the country in different backpacker hostels. I loved working in the tourist industry in New Zealand! The range of adventure attractions, beautiful national parks, and interesting cultures and history make the country unique and different to anywhere else I have ever traveled.

I eventually settled in Auckland working for the YHA as operations manager. Around this time I also started working with ITC, providing work placement opportunities and giving career presentations.

When I first visited the college I felt I had found somewhere that not only shared my passion for the travel and tourism industry, but that was also encouraging people to dream big. I believe that everyone has the potential to do anything, and I feel that by working with ITC and all my colleagues we can help people achieve their dreams.


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