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Aroha Raynel

Architectural Technology Student

A photograph of Aroha Raynel

“I found my place at UCOL.”

Aroha Raynel feels she is in the right place at the right time to chase her long-held ambition. Aroha (Tainui, Ngati Porou) is studying for the NZ Diploma in Architectural Technology at UCOL and working towards a profession she has imagined since she was a schoolgirl.

Aroha did a little work experience in the field as a fifteen-year-old and was told she had a flair for architecture. "But I feel it's only now, that I'm more mature and with more life skills, that I can pursue my dream career."

Originally, Aroha considered becoming a builder, an interest she followed by gaining an NZ Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Carpentry) at UCOL in 2017. "I really enjoyed Carpentry and dabbled a bit in Joinery," she says.

As a UCOL graduate, Aroha was familiar with, an enjoyed, UCOL's learning environment, teaching styles and hands on approach. "I didn't hesitate to come back again to study to be an architectural technician."

She is getting to grips with CAD design software and learning the many bylaws and NZ Standards required by the industry, but it is the creative side that appeals most to Aroha.

Aroha is aware she tends to overthink her designs and her Lecturers often have to remind her to keep it simple while she is still learning the basics. "I just have so many ideas that I want to use. I am a practical thinker, but I do get carried away with the details!"

As a mum of four and fulltime student, Aroha somehow fits in two shifts of work at either end of the day at the Kelly Club in Ashhurst. "As a first-year student, I work to fund my own study," she says. "It is tough, but I feel proud of myself for doing it."

Aroha credits her husband as her main supporter, and they work as a team to organise their busy weekly schedule.

Six months into the two-year Diploma, Aroha says the financial struggle and long hours are worth it. She not only receives great support from her lecturers but says her young son is very encouraging and wise. "He tells me to, "keep practicing Mum!""

Not surprisingly, Aroha's ultimate goal is to design her own home from the ground up. She already has a design style in mind and is keen to be involved in the build. "Maybe I'll even hammer a few nails in," she says with a smile.

Aroha is keen to inspire women to get involved in the trades. "Being female should not be a barrier. If you have a dream like I do, just go for it!"  


Check out more of  our Trades study options here.

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