University with a Disability - by Alicia Kapa

16 March 2020

Ever since I was young I knew I wanted to do something with my life, I just didn’t know what. When I was in year 12 at school I decided I wanted to work with young people who have been caught up in the justice system. I am going into my fourth year at university and this is what it is like going to uni in a wheelchair. 

It was a big change going from school to university but l was lucky that I had already met with the disability services and figured what degree would be the best option for me. By working with disability services, I was able to get an idea of what university life was going to be like. I am studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Criminology and minoring in Māori Studies at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Disability services make sure all my lectures and tutorials are accessible or has them moved if they aren’t. I also pay for mobility parking on-site, which saves the stress of trying to find a park or catching public transport which would be a mission, that’s for sure!

I am very lucky that I am Māori as there is so much support for Māori and Pasifika students. I became part of The Māori Student Association (Ńgā Tauira Māori) where I made friends and began learning about my culture. I am in the Kapa Haka group and last year I was selected to go to Dunedin to attend the annual Māori student conference, we also won the Kapa Haka competition. This is important in my university life as I am treated like everyone else which doesn’t always happen when you’re in a wheelchair. 

I am studying 3 papers each semester so it is taking me a bit longer but I’ll get there. In my first semester, I did one paper and gradually increased until I got to 3. I am on track to graduate next year in September which will be 4 and a half years, I think that’s quite an achievement considering I type with my head one letter at a time!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!


About the Writer:

I am a born and raised young New Zealand Māori woman. I was born with cerebral palsy which affects my muscles but not my mind. I am just like any other young person who has dreams, aspirations and enjoys having fun. I am in my fourth year at the University of Auckland studying Criminology and Māori Studies with dreams to one day working in the justice system. I have a YouTube channel called Wheely Wacky Adventures where my friend Leah and I share videos of our adventures such as skydiving and bungy jumping just to name a couple. I am full of life and ready to take on what comes for me.

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What an inspiration! thank

What an inspiration! thank you for sharing your story, it's one I know my granddaughters will appreciate and relate to.

Proud of you.

Congratulations Alicia Kapa!

I am Brazilian and have had studying English at Wintec than for some reason I give up. I really enjoyed studying there.

I know how great is to achieve our goals but about you it’s just AMAZING.

Helpfully your determination catches many many New Zealanders!