Young, Pasifika and a woman - Not your typical software Engineer

Young, Pasifika, and a woman, Olivia Morrison wasn’t initially sure she would fit in with ‘typical’ engineers at Victoria University of Wellington. But the 20-year-old Software Engineering student from Auckland immediately discovered she had nothing to worry about. She was welcomed readily and delighted to discover how much she connected with people in the faculty— they were her kind of people.



“Our tutors and lecturers are so passionate about what they do, and they teach everyone to be leaders. It’s so inspiring and makes you want to push yourself,” Olivia says. “I couldn’t even give a speech when I got here, but now I’m a mentor and a tutor as well.”


That enthusiastic attitude and passion are what initially drew her to the University after attending an exciting presentation at Open Day, and the ongoing encouragement and opportunities to apply what she’s learned in the ‘real world’ have brought her closer to realising her dream job.


“I would love to develop software for not-for-profit organisations. I think it’s often really hard to find a job that makes you feel you’re having a positive impact on the world,” Olivia says. “And, being a minority in tech, I would love to have a job where I can put my perspective into practice.”


Being given the chance to intern as a front-end developer at BNZ over the summer provided her with the opportunity to apply the technical and soft skills she’s learnt and, despite feeling “really intimidated”, the chance to offer her perspective.


“It was an awesome experience. It turned out they love the University’s students and really wanted to hear my ideas,” she says. “I’m looking forward to future opportunities, and I’m really excited to find out what other companies the Faculty of Engineering can connect me with. I think my studies have really helped me develop a very positive attitude about the industry and its workplaces.”


But it’s not just the skills she’s learnt that have boosted her confidence and focused her attention on a career, there is also the “growth mindset” Olivia says the University fosters in students.


Coupled with “creative freedom” over the software students develop and the problems they want to solve, it’s an approach that Olivia says has prepared her to face any challenge and use her skills to overcome it.


“People are always willing to give something a try here at the University, and that’s true in this city as well.”


Information Evenings


Wellington – Tuesday 7 May* – includes a Pasifika students and family session


Palmerston North – Wednesday 8 May


Whanganui – Thursday 9 May


Dunedin – Tuesday 21 May


New Plymouth – Tuesday 28 May


North Shore – Wednesday 29 May


Northland – Thursday 30 May


Nelson - Wednesday 12 June


Hawke’s Bay – Tuesday 18 June


Gisborne – Wednesday 19 June


Rotorua – Wednesday 26 June


Tauranga – Thursday 27 June


Hamilton – Tuesday 2 July*


Auckland Central – Wednesday 3 July*


Christchurch – Tuesday 23 July


Wellington – Thursday 28 November*

Venues and times are at