Mikael Raffael T Abaya

Mikael Raffael T Abaya

Chief Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Specialist, Barangay Wack-Wack Greenhills East, Philippines
Master of Emergency Management

Being able to understand how different countries approach emergency management has been one of the highlights of his studies, says Master of Emergency Management alumnus Mikael Raffael T. Abaya.

“As a former civil defence officer and a volunteer firefighter back in the Philippines, I wanted to deepen my knowledge of disaster and emergency management. I enjoy learning how emergency management works from a Kiwi perspective and love sharing the Filipino perspective with the other students.

“I chose AUT because the Master of Emergency Management is a well-rounded programme for those interested in emergency and disaster management. The AUT staff were also very accommodating, quickly answered my inquiries and helped me throughout the enrolment process,” says Mikael who came to AUT as a New Zealand Aid scholar.

Since graduating from AUT in 2017, Mikael has worked for the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a coordination specialist. Recently, he started working as the chief disaster risk reduction and management specialist for his local community. He plans to establish an operations centre and an emergency management office, and prepare the community for the dangers the movement of the West Valley Fault poses to Metro Manila.

Sharing expertise
For his master’s research, Mikael focused on the best practices of the Philippines’ disaster risk reduction and management system.

“I wanted to look at the United Nations cluster approach and compare it with the best practices of the Philippine cluster approach system, and determine the possible best practices for other countries to follow.”

Being able to learn from the Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management team was another highpoint of his studies.

“I enjoyed being able to co-ordinate with and join the Auckland Local Emergency Response Team, which is part of the Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management team. I was able to learn the practical and technical aspects of emergency management, particularly related to technical rescue.”

Taking on postgraduate study
Returning to study after several years in the workplace had some challenges, Mikael admits.

“Re-learning the academic writing and research process was my biggest challenge, but AUT’s Student Learning team recommended assistance and tutorials to help me conform to the academic standards required in postgraduate study.”

His advice for other students is to try and balance study with other commitments.

“It’s all about time management. As a student you need to find a good balance between studying and having fun. Making friends and having a good support network also helps you during troubled times like homesickness.”

Last updated: 17-Jul-2017 2.15pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.