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Where are they now? IHD catch-up

Meet Metui Tongatua; IHD’s Resident of the Year in 2012.

Meet Metui Tongatua; IHD’s Resident of the Year in 2012.

Originally from North Queensland, Metui came to IHD in 2011 to live while studying a Bachelor of Teaching/Learning and Bachelor of Applied Science. He recalls his time at IHD as one of the most enjoyable of his life so far. What Metui didn’t realise was that IHD is where he would meet his future wife, Grace.

“I really enjoyed the closeness to uni, as well as meeting lots of people. Having friends live no more than a two-minute walk away was amazing!” Metui said. “Meeting my wife while playing Capture the Flag and Pool Rugby was nice! Yes, that really did happen.”

Metui took his community experience one step further and became a Resident Leader. To this day, he encompasses lessons learnt into his professional life.

“Living at IHD has taught me to be more open-minded with new people. It has also allowed me to find new and different ways to work with people,” he said. “I was a Resident Leader during my time at IHD which taught me many different skills. These skills have helped me in my current employment as an HPE Teacher.”

Metui continues to be involved with the community. He is an Athletics Coach for Athletics Australia and recently created an Athletics Club to service all Arnhem Land communities. The Club works to assist Indigenous athletes with training and competing at a higher level. He considers this to be one of his biggest achievements.

“[So far my achievements include] having a wife and kids, working alongside Indigenous people and competing at NT Athletics Championships and winning a gold, silver and bronze in the hammer throw, discus and shot put,” he said.

"Meeting my wife while playing Capture the Flag and Pool Rugby was nice! Yes, that really did happen."

Living with people from all over Australia and the world exposed Metui to aspects of many cultures and religions, to which he feels is truly humbling.

“The biggest thing I learnt from IHD was respect,” he said. “Respect for other people, respect for other cultures, respect for other religions and respect for myself.

Five years on and Metui and Grace have grown their family with the addition of two boys and a girl, as well as their careers. He currently works for the Department of Education as an HPE and Maths Teacher in Ramingining, with Grace who is studying her third degree since graduating from CDU in 2015.