Te Wiki o te Reo Māori - A kōrero with Isaac Dickson

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori -  A kōrero with Isaac Dickson

Meet Isaac Dickson - he’s a recent graduate Civil Engineer from the Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha (University of Canterbury). Of Ngāi Te Rangi descent, Isaac is rekindling his love for Te Reo as he sharpens his engineering capability.

We caught up with Isaac for a kōrero to ask him about his journey into the world of engineering and connecting with a language close to his heart.

Tell us about your background and what sparked your interest in engineering?

Tēnā koutou katoa, ko Mauao te maunga, ko Te Awanui te moana, ko Ngāi Te Rangi te iwi, ko Isaac Dickson ahau. I’m originally from Tauranga moana.

After finishing my schooling at Tauranga Boys’ College, I took the leap down south in 2017 to study Civil Engineering at the Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha (UC). After completing my degree and meeting many talented people, I decided to move up to Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) to start my career as a Civil Engineer with T+T.

My whānau initially encouraged me to study engineering. It's a career that allows you to develop and improve your community. I've always wanted to work on solutions for a wide array of problems - civil engineering provides a pathway to achieve this.

You’ve recently joined T+T, as a fairly recent graduate. What sort of projects have you been working on and what’s it been like joining the T+T whānau?

I’ve been challenged with a wide range of projects including stormwater design, landfill operations, environmental monitoring, quality assurance, EQC claims, and a research project. I love the T+T whānau, they’re always there to lend a hand and always keen for a friendly chat. T+T has a diverse group of people with a wide variety of passion and skills to learn from.

We’ve heard of you’ve also begun a journey of learning Te Reo, can you share with us what that’s been like?

I did not have the privilege of fully learning and understanding te reo Māori in my schooling days. However, I did pick up basic kupu (words) and kīwaha (phrases) throughout the years.

I am now on te ara o te reo Māori, and excited for what the future holds. Learning te reo Māori connects me to my whakapapa and builds my confidence in my identity.

What are some benefits of learning Te Reo Māori that can be applied to the engineering profession?

Engineering is such a broad kaupapa. Along with the benefits of learning a new language, learning te reo Māori specifically, can benefit everyone in three ways:

  1. Introduce another lens or perspective to view problems through.
  2. Improve knowledge and understanding around the history of Aotearoa.
  3. Facilitate collaboration through a naturally welcoming environment for iwi Māori

What advice do you have for people keen to Te Reo Māori?

Don’t be afraid to give it a go. Learning a language is definitely an effort, but a couple of lessons a week will give you a solid base in no time. https://www.reomaori.co.nz/ideas has easy options to start you on your journey. Heading down to your library or listening in to a podcast (‘Taringa’ is an easy podcast to listen to) are two more simple ideas. Tūwhitia te hopo (mairangatia te angitū) – Feel the fear and do it anyway!

What sort of mahi would you like to be involved with? Where do you see yourself growing in the future?

It is hard to say at this point, as I have only just begun my career. I am enjoying developing my skills on a wide variety of projects. I am grateful for all the opportunities and people who have already helped me along the way. I am keen to work overseas at some point to see how the rest of the world operates.

One of my ambitions is to encourage more Māori into engineering, I would like to be involved with any job/projects which can facilitate this.

E mihi ana ki a koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.