Diana Amundsen is an inspiration, and finds inspiration in the people and communities around her. Diana completed her Bachelor of Arts at Waikato University in 1988 and nearly thirty years later returned to study for a PhD in Education, researching transition experiences of Māori students into tertiary education.
The title of her PhD is “Ngā Huarahi e Taea: Pathways to the Possible” and she expects to finish at the end of 2018, thereafter continuing to be involved in tertiary education in the Bay of Plenty region.
“Tauranga is a fast developing area and I would like to be part of our growth story,” Diana muses.
In between her undergraduate degree and PhD she gained two postgraduate qualifications, a husband and three daughters who, she says, “are a constant source of inspiration to me”. In 2005 Diana completed a Master of Arts at the University of Hawaii and in 2010 a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute.
With her day to day doctoral research costs increasing Diana’s supervisors, Professor Brian Findsen and Dr Lesley Rameka encouraged her to apply for the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) Crozier Scholarship and to her surprise she was unreservedly elected as the scholar for 2017.
“The generosity of the TEU Crozier Scholarship funding will help me to acknowledge and recognise the student volunteers who are continuing with our project next year. Day-to-day costs such as koha for their time, morning teas, petrol and travel assistance, and printing have all come out of my own personal funds. I will also be able to attend maraes, small gatherings and large conferences,” says Diana.
Diana is a self-professed consummate researcher and describes her studies as “exciting”.
“I don’t really have a lot of spare time because I am the type of person who usually fills my waking hours as much as possible. I love to study and research.”
To relax she listens to or plays music: the Western flute or Japanese bamboo flute, the piano, and is now learning African drumming.
Neither of Diana’s parents went to university, and she spent her childhood years on a fruit orchard in rural Bay of Plenty, walking to school barefoot and taking hotter days off to go to the beach.
“I didn’t know much about the wider world around me, just the community I grew up in,” she explains. “Our parents and grandparents taught us that we belonged to a family, a community, and we had to support each other by doing the best we could, no matter what.”
The TEU Crozier Scholarship is managed by Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara and awards $5,000 to one postgraduate student every year to support research into aspects of higher education, including issues relating to the health and wellbeing of staff and students.