Lisale's story

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Lisale Gagamoe - School Teacher

Graduate - Bachelor of Design and Graduate Diploma in Applied Design (see similar programmes)

"Whitireia felt like a real community, I knew it was the right place for me"

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Lisale studied a Bachelor of Design and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Design (see similar programmes) at Whitireia and is currently working as a full-time teacher at Porirua College.

A former professional football player in the UK during his OE, Lisale came back to New Zealand to study and create a portfolio that would get him into Weta Digital. He knew the best place to learn skills like storyboarding would be Whitireia.

Lisale started the design programme and met his tutor, Brenda, during his third year at Whitireia. Brenda was just coming out of the industry and wanted to get back into teaching so she brought all of her industry experience to her students. At this point, Lisale didn’t have the motivation to finish the programme because of his family and work commitments, but Brenda reignited his enthusiasm and passion for design, which is why he ended up signing on for the Graduate Diploma.   

After Lisale graduated, Brenda encouraged him to look into a teaching career instead of film and entertainment. Brenda told him that New Zealand needed more Polynesian male teachers, and she saw something in Lisale that she knew would make him an excellent teacher. Lisale trusted Brenda completely, and knew she wouldn’t steer him wrong, so he went back to school to study teaching.  

As a teacher, he’s able to teach his design skills to his students and bring traditional arts values into the digital space. Seeing his students achieve humbles him on a daily basis – they are the best part of his day because he’s helping change the narrative of the most at-risk youth in New Zealand, and he couldn’t be more proud of that. As for that Weta dream, he’s still got it and believes that someday he’ll end up there, with his name in the credits of a blockbuster film. 

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