Community means a lot to top scholar
A top university student from Waitara is planning a return home so she can give back to the community she grew up in.
Allania Parker has been the best Maori social work student at the University of Auckland for two years running and transferred into the honours class this year.
Parker, who is in her final year of study, said her desire to give back to her home town had been inspired by her parents.
The 23-year-old, who is of Te Atiawa descent, said her parents were involved heavily in the Waitara community and through their church organised community meals and Christmas parcels for people who needed them.
"They are the ones that have taught me to value justice, to be empathetic, to treat everyone with respect and to give back," she said.
After she finished at Waitara High School, Parker attended Bible college for a year before making the decision to study social work.
She said she hoped what she had learnt about Maori models of health and social development could be put to good use in the future.
"Being Maori has also contributed a lot to my outlook and my focus on community and community health," said Parker, who has also featured in an advertising campaign for the university.
She said the support of her family had been instrumental in her success and she was proud of what she had achieved so far.
"None of my success at university is possible without their support and guidance," she said.
She said she planned to travel overseas when she completed her tertiary study but ultimately wanted to move back to Taranaki.
"Giving back to the community is a really big part of what I want to do," Parker said.
Taranaki Daily News