Olivia Kitson

As a result of her experience on Aoraki Bound, Olivia Kitson is determined to continue learning about Kāi Tahu history and culture, and to keep learning te reo. Although Olivia graduated from Otago University in 2012 she is saving her Whai Rawa withdrawal to put towards her first home.

Ko Takitimu te mauka, Ko Oreti me Waihōpai te awa, Ko Uruao, Takitimu, Tairea te waka, Ko Wharetutu te tūpuna, Ko Kāi Tahu te iwi, Ko Robert Kitson tōku hākoro, Ko Nicola Kitson tōku hākui, No Waihōpai ahau, Kai Te Whanganui a Tara tōku kāika ināianei, Ko Olivia Kitson tōku ikoa.

Recent Aoraki Bound alumni Olivia Kitson learnt this mihimihi on the first day of attending Aoraki Bound. “As the course went on and I heard the stories of Rākaihautū, Waitaiki and others, I felt more connected to my iwi and Te Wai Pounamu. I also felt more confident in telling others who I am and where I come from; I now proudly say that I am Kāi Tahu. This opportunity would not have been possible without the investment of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu People & Performance team so I would like to thank them for giving me the chance to learn more about myself and my culture”.

In addition to the cultural learning obtained throughout the course, Olivia also learnt more about herself in the various physical challenges she encountered. Over the three weeks Olivia remarked “I am so much stronger than I ever realised. Initially I struggled with the hiking and running, but I had the determination to push through and successfully complete a four day tramp, and run longer than I ever thought I could possibly achieve. I have so much more confidence in myself which is something I have long struggled to find”.

As a result of her experience on Aoraki Bound, she is determined to continue learning about Kāi Tahu history and culture, and to keep learning te reo. She said “I feel a responsibility to help Kāi Tahu achieve the goal of Kotahi Mano Kāika, Kotahi Mano Wawata. Following the end of the course, I told my parents some of the stories I heard, the karakia I learnt, and the people I met during the hikoi. I believe that the first step for me is passing on to my whānau what I have learnt and will continue to learn. I am determined to maintain the confidence I have obtained through Aoraki Bound, by continuing to push myself and to keep growing”.

Although Olivia graduated from Otago University in 2012 she is saving her Whai Rawa withdrawal to put towards her first home. She is currently looking for employment in the ‘policy research and analysis’ field, which should keep her based in the Wellington area.