Kia ora, my name is Kaia Kahurangi Jamieson. I am a filmmaker, writer, musician, student politician and outdoors lover studying at the University of Otago in Ōtepoti, Aotearoa. I am in my second year of a double degree – a Ba and a Bsc, studying Marine Science, Film and English lit.
The past two years have been some of the most challenging and rewarding of my life – leaving home, working to pay for my living and education costs, studying and sailing on the Spirit of New Zealand. Some of my proudest achievements over the past couple of years have been: being voted onto the Otago University Students’ Association Exec as the Welfare Representative (2023); being accepted into the Pinnacle Programme; winning the Under18 section of the 2021 48H Film Festival; and being selected for DocEdge 2022 (an Oscar Qualifying International Film Festival), with my short documentary, ‘Scope’.
In late 2019, I had the privilege of competing on the European show jumping circuit, alongside a team of other young kiwis. While I no longer ride horses, I still love being active and outdoors, spending my time snowboarding, surfing, hiking, and getting involved in any new opportunities which present themselves. This year I have been spending time learning to white water kayak and rock climb. I am a keen snowboarder and sit on the executive committee of the Otago University Snow Sports Club, in a role dedicated to filming, photographing and penning the clubs’ activities and achievements.
I am passionate about the ocean, and love to spend time SCUBA diving, photographing life under the sea and capturing friends surfing. Over summer I worked in the local surf shop and begun freelance filmmaking to save money for my Marine Science degree, underwater housing for my camera, and to pay for part-time study at a dive school, which has since seen me gain certification as a Rescue Diver. I have loved using my new skills and equipment to catalogue my underwater adventures so far.
I am also very involved in the Dunedin music scene. I play in two bands; ‘The Audio Visual Drop Kicks’ and ‘The Daze’, the former of which has released a single, 'Meursault', and is currently recording an EP. My passion for music led me to take a job at the local student radio station, Radio One, last year, which morphed into doing some writing for the OUSA magazine ‘Critic’ and culminated in my involvement with the executive committee this year.
I am incredibly grateful and honoured to have been selected for the Pinnacle Programme. My time in Spirit of Adventure only increased my passion and love for the ocean. I was honoured to be asked to document my sailing experience by Pinnacle, which gave me the opportunity to create a film of all that the ocean means to me. Spirit of Adventure also assisted me in developing an abundance of leadership and teamwork tools I have used every day since. I have so much gratitude to Pinnacle, and so much excitement for the future.