Old Collegian of the Moment - Summer King's Courier 2023
Wednesday, 20 December 2023

Our ‘Old Collegian of the Moment’ for the summer King’s Courier 2023 is Maryann Panoho (Middlemore 2015-16).
During her time at King's College, Maryann achieved full academic colours in the classroom and in sports she was the Captain of Girls Rowing in 2016.
Maryann has just begun her journey at the University of Arizona after completing her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science and International Relations earlier this year at the University of Auckland.
We caught up with Maryann to hear more about her what she has been up to since leaving King’s, her interests in indigenous law and her pathway towards achieving the goals she has set herself.

  • When you were at King’s College, what did you want to do career-wise after you graduated?
The beginnings of your career start with the choices you make in high school so I remember feeling a lot of pressure when everyone was selecting their classes as this determined what path we would be taking for the future. Was I interested in creative arts or Sport, Sciences or English and History? Being 16 at the time, I sought my parent’s advice as this life changing decision was not one 16-year-old Maryann felt equipped enough to make. Like a lot of parents with daughters my parents said “well Maryann, you’re great at arguing…” and that was that. It was a family decision to choose law as my career, also with a bit of help from Harvey Spectar and Jessica Pearson. However, I think it is important to note that you do not have to know what you want to be for the rest of your life in high school so my suggestion is to seek advice from your family, mentors, teachers, and take subjects that interest you the most and things will slowly become more focussed. 
  • What is your best memory of your time at King’s College?  
It is so hard to pick one memory. I cherish them all. I will never forget my first day of college walking up the drive for the first time with all the Middlemore girls not knowing what our lives were going to look like for the next two years. I also remember walking down the drive for the last time wishing that it wasn’t all over. I cherish my sporting memories, from representing King’s in rowing at the annual Maadi Cup to watching First XV Rugby games and participating in Athletics Day. I think about my time at King’s often and appreciate my years of friendship, hard work, and personal growth. King’s taught me to step out of my comfort zone, to take chances, and to never give up. 

  • Which staff member do you remember most favourably from King's College and why?
It is so hard to pick just one staff member because I am grateful for them all. However, two of my teachers that made such a positive impact on my high school experience were Mr Naidoo and Mr Karpick. Their dedication to teaching and genuine care for their students made a lasting impression on me. Mr. Karpick’ s classroom wasn’t always about learning as he always knew when to throw a good dad joke in here and there. I still remember on our last day of school Mr. Naidoo sat with me for lunch in the dining hall and we spoke about what my future might look like. He tried to explain the rules of cricket to me, which I’m sorry Mr. Naidoo I still don’t know, but I hope I have made you both proud. I also want to mention Mr. Wichman who was not my teacher, but he was a mentor for our family for five years as he was the Parnell House Master for my brother Tamati. His support and dedication to our family and Tamati’s achievements is something that we still talk about and cherish. Thank you all, and if you are reading this, please know that I am so grateful for your guidance and for believing in my abilities.
  • What advice would you give to your school age self?
Take in every single moment as school goes by way too fast. So, get involved with all aspects of King’s life. Embrace failure and learn from your mistakes, you are young - so trust the journey because challenges lead to personal growth and resilience. We need more women and Indigenous women occupying powerful spaces so keep going, it’ll be so worth it in the end.
  • Tell us about yourself now and what you are doing after graduating King’s?
Since graduating from King’s I have recently graduated from the University of Auckland with an Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (BA/LLB) conjoint degree majoring in Political Science. In my final year at University, I was the Head Tutor in the Māori Academic Program (MAP) for the law faculty, and I was the Jurisprudence Tutor for third year law students. After graduating in May 2023, I travelled Europe for three months and have since moved to the U.S. to complete my Masters in Law (LLM) at the University of Arizona College of Law. Alongside studying I am a Graduate Teaching Fellow for the Undergraduate BA in Law programme at the university in the topics of contracts, torts, and property. The opportunity to study in the U.S. was only made possible with the support of two scholarships - I recently received The Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga Postgraduate Scholarship from New Zealand and the Williams Achievement Award from the University of Arizona. Without these scholarships my journey to the U.S. wouldn’t have been possible but ultimately, all of these opportunities and experiences are due to the sacrifices my parents made for our family.
  • What does your job/day involve now?    
My working day changes from day-to-day so I am grateful for the diversity. Some days I will be taking classes, working on projects with the United Nations and international bodies, working on assignments, lecturing, teaching my own classes, and grading papers. Every day is different, so I am always being challenged and pushed outside my comfort zone.
  • What are the most challenging parts of your job/day?
Balancing personal and professional life as these two can sometimes merge. However, I always remind myself that it is important to allow time to do things that make my mental and physical selves happy such as running, walking, or going to the gym. This sets the intention for my day to try and keep my work/life balanced.

  • What has been your inspiration in choosing your study/career path?
My parents and my family have been and always will be my greatest inspiration. My parents made a lot of sacrifices to give myself and my brother Tamati the opportunities we have received from sending us to boarding school in England to prioritising King’s College as a family goal. I have always admired the way they approach life with resilience in the face of challenges, kindness for our community and a strong work ethic. I can see how their guidance and lessons for life have become the foundation of my own aspirations for the future. Thank you, Mum and Dad, for everything.
  • What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement to date is having the opportunity to study towards my LLM and working as a Graduate Teaching Fellow because teaching and lecturing not only helps with my own personal development but it is also an honour to shape the legal minds of the future. 
  • Where would you like to be in five years’ time?
In five years' time I will be 30 and I have many goals between now and then. By May 2024 I would have graduated from my LLM degree, and I will be starting my doctorate dissertation in law. My plan is to finish my doctorate within two years and continue my job as a Graduate Teaching Fellow whilst I am here at the University of Arizona. Following the completion of my doctorate I hope to return home to New Zealand and ideally, I would like to practice law in the area of Indigenous Rights whilst also working towards becoming a Professor at the University of Auckland. However, I am also aware that life happens and sometimes being too strict on a plan doesn’t allow for growth so whilst these are goals for the next five years, I always leave room for opportunities to present themselves because course directions keep life interesting.

  • What is the single thing that would most improve the quality of your life?
Travel and experiencing all life has to offer. I love to travel, and I believe that whilst the work I am doing is extremely rewarding and I love what I do, I think it is still important to meet new people and experience the world. Balance is important in whatever form that looks like for you.
  • What are the three objects you would take with you to a desert island?
Well, if anyone knows anything about Arizona, they know that I basically already live on a desert island except for the lack of water! So, from my limited experience I know that sunscreen is crucial because I plan to keep up my tan whilst waiting to be rescued, a volleyball named Wilson to keep me company, and Bear Grylls.
  • How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as someone who has made a positive impact on many lives, for my kindness and compassion, and my devotion to justice.