Originally from Christchurch, the 25-year-old has been in Nelson for a few years and is due to complete his degree this year.
After graduating, Gillan will head overseas to Colombia as a part of Te Hononga-ā-Kiwa, a programme that aims to increase business connections between Māori and other indigenous communities across Asia-Pacific. He has been working with them for the past two years.
“Because of COVID-19 restrictions, I have been unable to travel anywhere, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” he says.
“I am Māori-Phillipino and will also surprise some family in the Phillipines as a graduation present to myself.”
Gillan was the recipient of the Nelson Pines Scholarship and the Johnston Association Scholarship this year, reducing his course-related costs by $6000.
“I have made plenty of good friends here,” he says. “It is easy to engage in the classroom because of the smaller numbers. You can have some proper discussions and the tutors have a lot of industry experience for context.”
As part of graduating with his Bachelor of Commerce, Gillan needs to complete a research project. He is looking into how entrepreneurs in Aotearoa incorporate Māori kaupapa in their businesses.
Once he returns to New Zealand, Gillan is considering postgraduate study in International Business up north, where he can be better involved with his iwi.
“I am on a journey of reconnecting with my roots.”
For more information about the Bachelor of Commerce programme at NMIT or our available scholarships for 2024, visit our website.