Meet Student Ambassador: Tristan

We talked to Tristan from Whangarei Girls’ High School about what she loves about living and studying in Northland. 


“I have 2 sisters and a younger brother, of which I am the first middle child. We are all South African Indian, with a sprinkle of kiwi in the mix. Both my parents, along with my younger sister were born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, my older sister was born in Johannesburg and my brother and I were born here in New Zealand. A fun fact about us four is that all our names start with the letter T! From oldest to youngest it goes Tatham, Tristan (me), Taenia, and Troy. My brother and I have always been know as the kiwis of our family and I’ve always loved that part of me, I feel so lucky to have grown up here and be part of this wonderful culture. We’ve been in New Zealand for about 15 years now and it’s more than started to just grow on all of us. “


Why do you love Northland?

Northland NZ is my home. After living my whole life in the north island you’d think by now I would stop being so surprised about the natural beauty Aotearoa has to offer, but no. Every day I wake up to crisp morning air and I’m greeted by rays of sunlight breaking through the branches of proud pohutakawas. The land is scattered with beautiful forests and long beaches that I can never get enough of. But the thing I love most about Northland and our community has got to be the people. I couldn’t be more thankful for Whangarei’s tight knit community that could make any stranger feel more than at home. Any person traveling to Northland NZ would fit right in with the locals. 


What do you love most about studying at school in New Zealand?


I love that I am provided with so many great opportunities to grow, learn, and experience things that are out of my comfort zone. The safety I feel surrounded by my fellow students and teachers are unparalleled and their encouragement and guidance often pushes me to new lengths in many areas of my life, not just school. Students all over NZ are encouraged to be different, unique and to embrace themselves in new ways so that everyone has a chance to be the best version of themselves they can be. New Zealand supports students in their endeavors, hopes and dreams and really allows us to open up, learn more about who we are and what our interests and goals are through school. 


What are your favourite experiences and places to go in Northland?


Northland has many wonderful beaches, mountains and unique places to experience, making it hard to choose just a few. I remember venturing to the Quarry Gardens many a time as a kid. There was not much to do for children other than walk amongst the beautiful native scenery but for me it was a magical place. I loved playing with my siblings in the echoing tunnels at the end of the walk and clicking pictures of each other at every cool looking rock or new plant. But as I grew up I really came to appreciate and take in all of the amazing scenery. Also my parents would always buy us food afterwards which was always a nice added bonus haha.


What are your interests, sports, and hobbies?


I love the arts, whether it’s dance, acting, music, literature or actual art I have a fondness for them all. However that being said my heart belongs in my drawing and painting, something I’ve been doing since before I could walk. It was always a dream of mine to become an artist when I grew up, and although that is still my ultimate goal there is a lot more that I want to be able to experience and be a part of. Starting high school has opened a whole new door of possibilities and opportunities for me. And a new found passion of mine is learning about the many different cultures of our world, a curiosity that has led me here.

Some of my favorite things to do to pass the time is read, play piano, violin and draw. I swear that sometimes I need a whole library with the amount of books I have at home, and although I am quite new to the piano and violin I am determined to get better. I have been drawing and doodling since I was young and so it comes as easily to me as any habit. I also enjoy long walks in the neighborhood or park, and love playing badminton every Tuesday and Thursday. It’s a new found passion of mine and like piano and violin I can’t wait to get better at it. 


What is your favourite local place to hang out with friends?


Going into town or the town basin is my go to place to hangout. But when I can, I love to go on walks through the local quarry gardens or sightseeing at Whangarei falls for a picnic with my friends. I love browsing shop windows and just catching up with friends at the town basin and when we’re done we can always go for a stroll around the loop while taking in all the sights or petting some of the locals’ dogs, with their permission of course. I remember someone had saved a lost kitten at town basin, he so graciously let me and my friends hold her and explained to us that he was hoping to maybe adopt her. Which is another reason I love hanging out at town or the town basin is because of the friendly people we get to meet. 


More about Whangarei Girls’ High School…

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