My name is Nikoma Rangihuna, I am 25, a Maori from Christchurch in New Zealand. I came here 8 years ago with my mother – it seemed a good idea to make a change. Our dad had passed away in 1996 of a heart attack and it was hard to start a new life without him here in Aussie land.

I found it hard to adjust to the Australian culture. I found it hard to get to know people. We were a family that had nothing. Yet made something of ourselves because we believed we could. What helps strengthens me and keeps me going in life is having faith and placing my trust in the Heavenly Father.

I did TAFE, yr 12 maths and English, then worked as a secretary and for two and a half years have been doing office administration at Australian Panel Tanks. I didn’t know anything about office or secretarial work, and it was a matter of determination to keep furthering my qualifications. Initially took a while to find work because of low skills and no qualifications.

I feel Australia is my home, I feel comfortable here. The Australian culture helped push me into becoming somebody I didn’t think I’d turn out to be. I came out of my shell from New Zealand each time learning the Australian ways. Learning that people aren’t afraid to speak their minds over here. So I basically knew where I stood with them each time.

I know they love their sport, surfing, golf, swimming and that’s what I love about Australia too. I identify as a Maori, My mum took up Maori studies and I did Maori studies at high school.

I play piano and do vocals for the church, and have a leadership position in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which helped me gain skills in being organised and learning about how to teach.
I have been a Youth Counsellor helping teenagers to find who they are, helping them to set goals and aspire to something higher.

Outside of work this is the other thing that takes up my time.

The Gold Coast is great, the best, there are many opportunities here, more for young people than for older people. Sometimes there are so many opportunities out there it is hard to choose.

My dream is to go to study tourism and photography, maybe music, and to travel.