Friday, 9th December, is shaping up to be the biggest graduation day ever and a first for Southern Institute of Technology Business Division of Te Pūkenga, with three graduation ceremonies for diplomas, degrees, postgraduate diplomas and master’s degrees all on the same day.
Having moved on to employment or further study over the past year, fittingly, the first ceremony is for all 2021 graduates whose graduation was postponed because of Covid regulations their ceremony starts at 10.00 am and covers all faculties. The second ceremony commences at 12.15 pm, for the faculties of SIT2LRN / New Media, Arts, Business and Computing. The third ceremony starts at 2.15 pm, for the faculties of Trades and Technology / Queenstown / Health and Humanities.
Amongst the 580 graduands attending on Friday will be Sean Morgan, who took a leap into the unknown when he made the dec ision to move from Whanganui to study at SIT Invercargill. Completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Health Sciences (Rehabilitation and Wellness), he’s had a fulfilling year, with a new job already secured, he also won this year’s SIT Tohu Manukura | Māori Leadership Award at the SIT Award Ceremony on November 29th.
Completing his undergraduate studies at UCOL in Palmerston North, and graduating with a Bachelor in Exercise and Sports Science in 2019, Mr Morgan intended to head into rehabilitation
work in the health system, and possibly Occupational Therapy. Unfortunately, his career launch coincided with the Covid 19 pandemic, and it was hard to enter the workforce. “The timing was not the greatest in regards to finding a job,” he sa id, so he ended up at his local meat works instead, but he didn’t want it to be long term as it was important to get back to what he had trained for. “I felt all my work was slowly going to waste if I stayed any longer...”
After some online research, Mr Morgan found the postgraduate programme he wanted to study at SIT, so he took the plunge and enrolled, moving to Southland in February of this year without knowing anybody. “All my family and friends are in the North Island,” he added.
However, on day one of his course, Mr Morgan met Nadine Young, a fellow student, who also worked full time at Ngā Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust (NKMP) and she introduced Mr Morgan to Karina Davis Marsden, Kōrari Māori Public Health Manager at Ngā Kete Matauranga Pounamu. “I met Karina after a presentation they did on Māori Kai and the importance of keeping up traditions... I got talking with Karina and Nadine and we found a common interest, ...it was very serendipitous connecting with the right people at the right time,” he said.
It wasn’t long before Mr Morgan was working part time at NKMP. He loved the work because he was utilising his degree, and it also helped him to close the door on Occupational Therapy. “It wasn’t looking as promising as I originally thought, wasn’t looking as promising as I originally thought,” he said. Although Youth Work wasn’t initially ” he said. Although Youth Work wasn’t initially on his radar, it was another option from Mr Morgan’s degree studies on his radar, it was another option from Mr Morgan’s degree studies -- helping young people in helping young people in their journey through using sports their journey through using sports -- and this is the field in which he has found his place.and this is the field in which he has found his place.
Mr Morgan is Kaimahi with Kōrari Māori Public Health at NKMP; his role is to help with the with Kōrari Māori Public Health at NKMP; his role is to help with the rangatahi | youth programme rangatahi | youth programme - Te Waka Taiohika o Murihiku Waka Ama programme, “teaching, using waka ama as a vessel to break down barriers our rangatahi have, and using sport to using waka ama as a vessel to break down barriers our rangatahi have, and using sport to encouragencourage them into physical exercise”.
While the timing of the NKMP job was perfect, - it opened the door to a new career and allowed it opened the door to a new career and allowed him to settle in Invercargill him to settle in Invercargill -- Mr Morgan said an extra year of study and the postgraduate Mr Morgan said an extra year of study and the postgraduate qualification has helped to broaden his perspective in looking at things as a whole.
“One paper was on Wellness –– this tapped into the holistic approach and opened up topics like this tapped into the holistic approach and opened up topics like Yoga and meditation... sport isn’t just about going to the gym to build bigger muscles, you can go Yoga and meditation... sport isn’t just about going to the gym to build bigger muscles, you can go to the gym to to the gym to clear your mind. It’s going beyond the physical and tapping into the spiritual, and clear your mind. It’s going beyond the physical and tapping into the spiritual, and also the psychological sphere as well.”
Mr Morgan said it’s helped him in his new role by being able to connect with rangatahi on a different level. “It’s teaching them different level. “It’s teaching them in a different way in a different way – to take a moment and slow down, to be at to take a moment and slow down, to be at one with their environment and connect with whatever is going on around them.”
“It’s also about giving them a space that feels safe and showing them that I’m willing to listen, or if they need they need advice, and gives me an opportunity to pass on my knowledge,” he said.
The day culminates in the traditional grand procession of graduates from all three ceremonies, who will walk from the rear of the Civic Theatre in Esk St, along Kelvin and Tay Sts, back to the k to the main SIT Campus for a celebratory graduation function with their families, friends and SIT staff.
The final SIT ceremony this year is the Certificate Graduation Ceremony, to be held on Thursday 15th December at the ILT Stadium.