Hana Velio’s journey through life, school and work was strongly influenced by a supportive Christian family.
Born in Wellington, but growing up in Roskill South in Auckland, Hana reflects on her childhood and realizes what a wild rollercoaster ride it was. Growing up as the only girl, things weren’t always good at home. When she was thirteen years old, her eldest brother committed suicide. Being surrounded by a large supportive Christian family was her motivation to keep going.
Her tough times continued when her father, who had been a factory worker since he arrived here from Samoa, was diagnosed with dementia during her first year at AUT. He had to stop working so her second and third year at Uni were tough as she worked to support her family. She remembers her father who passed away last year as being 100% committed to her success, often getting up after a shift finishing at 3 am to take her to school, and he was at every single school event that she had. Until the day he died, her father only ever spoke Samoan, and she says it is hard to say from his illness if he ended up proud of her success. Hana says it was the thought of the struggles she saw her parents go through while growing up that kept her going through the hard times, and after the commitment of her father, she felt that if ‘he had my back, then I’ve got his.’
Hana says her life has been a balance of spending time to help care for her family alongside studying and working. She worked a lot of shift work in factories and retail to get through university.
One day she was about to make the decision to drop some papers at Uni to take on more shiftwork when she was introduced to TupuToa. The introduction was to change her life. She says the combo of TupuToa and AUT has been a lifesaver getting her to where she is today in her career.
After an internship with Genesis and support from TupuToa, Hana now has a fulltime role with Genesis that she loves. She says the management staff have been hugely supportive of her and her career, urging her to push her comfort zones and to take on new challenges and roles.
Hana says at school she had loved studying accounting. Complex calculations in mathematics were not her thing, but she loved the arithmetic of book-keeping in accounting, and the challenge of making books balance.
She thoroughly enjoys her role as a finance analyst at Genesis today and is studying towards becoming a Chartered Accountant.
Hana says she still lives with her mother and enjoys not having the same struggles with finances now she has a fulltime role.