Huhana Smith talks about the difficulties of part-time study

Huhana Smith works full time as the senior curator Māori at Te Papa, and spends much of her weekend revegetating her local wetland. In the past seven years she also added in part-time student, working on a PhD that involved research, writing and painting about ecosystem restoration.

She finished the PhD in early 2008 but admits it was hard combining a PhD with full-time work, and not something she’d recommend to others.

“Although I learned to better manage my time, I suppose I also had to give up a lot of things. I probably didn’t have time for extraneous relationships, which sounds terrible, but maybe as you get older you narrow down the number of close friends you have anyway.

“I talked to my friends and my partner about the PhD before starting it, but towards the end I did have to prioritise all my weekends finalising the writing – it was gruelling.”

Now the PhD is finished, Huhana enjoys spending more time with her partner, friends and whānau, and working on her paintings. But her formal learning may not have finished yet. “I do have thoughts about doing a post-doctorate,” she confesses. “But I may just let everything coalesce and see what happens.”

Updated 2 Sep 2016