Jamee’s scholarship application narrated her journey of lived experience of mental distress and fighting the stigma attached to being a young Māori mother living in South Auckland. She has overcome many challenges in a westernised system by imploring and embodying key Māori values and drawing on her connection and support from her tamariki and tūpuna. Jamee is in her third year of law school and once qualified plans to support Māori Rangatahi and young māmās in the South Auckland community.
Tēnā tātou katoa,
Ko Matawhaura tōku maunga
Ko Rotoiti-Kite-a-Īhenga tōku awa
Ko Te Arawa tōku waka
Ko Te Arawa tōku iwi
Ko Ngāti Rongomai me Ngāti Pikiao ngā hapū
Ko Tapuaikura-a-Hatupatu tōku marae
Nō Rotoiti ahau
Ko Arapeta tōku whanau
Ko Jamee Kataraina tōku ingoa
I am a mother and law student in my third year at Auckland University of Technology’s South campus. My journey through law school has been full of challenges, and I can honestly say that I have never grown so much in such a short space of time. Having to step outside of my comfort zone has allowed me to unlock potential that I never knew existed; from there, I have developed and grown every semester.
I moved to Auckland from the Bay of Plenty as a teen mum desperate to continue my education. I knew life had more to offer then what was presented in front of me. I attended Taonga Teen Parent Unit in Clendon, which is where I began my journey of learning, self-discovery and parenthood. This organisation and the people behind it play a huge part in the woman and mother that I am today.
One of my long-term goals is to help other young Māori grow their skills to be able to work confidently in westernised systems without feeling the need to change who they are or feeling like they are not good enough. When I become a qualified lawyer, I want to work with my South Auckland Community and provide opportunities and support for Māori Law students. I would particularly like to inspire and mentor young māmā by working closely with the South Auckland Teen Parent Unit, where I was once a student.
I have worked so hard against the odds to get this far. Fighting statistics and the stigma that comes with being a Māori teenage parent living in South Auckland. Though these experiences, I have naturally acquired the attributes needed to help me succeed this year and throughout the rest of my degree. I found that the first key to success is believing in myself, which has been an emotional journey on its own.
I believe that anyone who has been through the struggle has the resilience and skill set needed to overcome any boundary they might face; they just need to be shown how and have someone who believes in them to support them along the way.