International +64 9 309 0301
New Zealand 0800 111 212

Introducing Student Representative Paolo Duran

17 April, 2023
News and events

New Student Representative Paolo Duran has embraced the New Zealand culture during his time here.

Paolo first came to New Zealand from the Philippines in 2018 on a Government Manaaki New Zealand Scholarship and undertook a Postgraduate Diploma in Emergency Management at AUT.

The programme appealed to him because he had specialised in health and safety during his engineering career. He’s previously completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering and worked in the field for around a decade.

On arriving here in New Zealand, Paolo quickly took an interest in the Māori culture. He learned all about it through an experience staying at AUT’s Ngā Wai o Horotiu marae.

“The best part for me was when they taught us how to do the haka and they chose me to be the haka leader of our batch,” he says.

Paolo continued to volunteer at the marae and has since got some traditional Māori tattoos guided by friends he made at the marae. They took him to an artist who asked him about his journey and created a design based on it.

In addition to that, Paolo has completed a course in Te Reo Māori and had the opportunity to deliver a karakia at his graduation ceremony.

Paolo, who loves traveling, saw most of New Zealand during his year here in 2018.

“I managed to go to pretty much every place in New Zealand except Wellington. I left Wellington out on purpose so I still have somewhere to visit.”

At the conclusion of his programme he went home to the Philippines for two years, as return service in his home country was part of his scholarship conditions. He spent that time working in health and safety engineering and also volunteering with the Citizens Disaster Response Centre.

Paolo had always planned to return to New Zealand and started thinking he’d like to undertake master’s study in either business or analytics. The Business Information Systems strand of OPAIC’s Master of Applied Management provided the perfect mix of both.

Paolo had been working in operations management roles during his engineering career and wanted to formalise that knowledge with a master’s degree.

“Because of my engineering background I wanted a more technical approach,” he says.

He arrived here on campus last October and is really enjoying the programme, particularly the analytics courses.

He’s also just landed a new position as Student Representative. He says he’s really enjoying the new role and has a great team.

So far, he’s been working with the Student Ambassadors and organising them all ahead of this week’s Orientation events.

In the future, he hopes to get some clubs, such as sports, music, and outdoors clubs, going at OPAIC with the help of the Student Ambassadors.