Symon Knuckey is a dedicated māmā, Amo Taurima (Deputy Principal), kaiako, kaikaranga and community champion who has added post-graduate student to the growing number of pōtae she wears.
Her academic achievements, paired with her commitment to her community and iwi (Te Atiawa, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Tama, Taranaki Iwi) led to Symon receiving a $5,000 education grant from Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa (Te Kotahitanga).
Symon lives in Warea along coastal Taranaki with her two sons and is in her first year of her two-year Master’s degree, Poutāhū Whakaakoranga with Te Wānanga o Raukawa. This qualification focuses on delivery and teaching, advanced iwi and hapū research and te whakatupu i te reo Māori.
This follows on from her long list of qualifications which includes two degrees. Te Rangakura: Bachelor of Teaching (Māori and English) from Te Wānanga o Raukawa and Ngā Mana Whakairo a Toi: Bachelor of Māori Performing Arts from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi. Symon also has a Diploma in Te Pīnakitanga ki te Reo Kairangi from Te Wananga o Aotearoa.
To concentrate on her studies, Symon has taken a two-year sabbatical from her role as Amo Taurima at Te Pi’ip’inga Kākano Mai i Rangiātea Kura Kaupapa Māori in Ngāmotu. Prior to this she taught at Te Kōpae piripono Early Childhood Centre.
Symon is grateful for the education grant from Te Kotahitanga which has lessened the financial pressure on her and her whānau.
“This grant enabled me to pay my student fees and buy a new laptop. It will also help with accommodation when I travel monthly to Otaki,” says Symon.
“This study will be really good for my teaching and will build my knowledge. I’m grateful to Te Kotahitanga for this grant.”
The popular karanga wānanga she facilitates with her sister Reaggan is another way Symon is supporting the revitalisation of te reo Māori and tikanga within her iwi.
A plan for 20 at their last wānanga ballooned out to 42, which showed the need for wānanga like this.
We are excited for Symon’s continued learning journey!
Symon’s education grant is the largest given. In 2022, 149 tertiary and secondary school applicants received $141,000 of education grants. This is the highest education distribution ever from Te Kotahitanga.