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March 5, 2018 | by  | in Ngāi Tauira Opinion | [ssba]

NT: Te Ara Tauira

Being an “us” at university

Recently, I’ve heard the same story come up in a number of conversations with different people. The story has Pacific origins and it goes something like this: a student walks into his class, and the teacher asks him to stand up and talk about himself, he’s asked something along the lines of, “what are your goals? What do you enjoy? Who are you?” In every instance the boy responds with the same answer. “Our goals are… we enjoy… we are…” and so on. The teacher responds in confusion. “Why are you talking about ‘us’ when I asked you about yourself?”

For the boy in the story, and I’d say for most of us Māori and Pasifika, we grow up not just being ourselves, but being the products and representations of our ancestors, our whanau, and our wider iwi. That doesn’t mean we’re not our own individual at the same time, but that we’re also a culmination of other beings which determine our very own unique #wairua.

Coming to university for the first time can be daunting business. You can feel isolated from those roots and connections that have been nurtured over the years. University is an individualistic and pākehā institution which often strips us of that sense of aroha and whanaungatanga.

Ngai Tāuira, our Māori Students Association here at Victoria, can be that whānau and that “us” for you here on campus. Whether you’re a new student, or just a Māori student who has yet to get involved with NT. We would love to implore you to join us and allow us the chance to tautoko you as much as we can through your academic journey.

Nau mai, Haere mai.

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Nā Jade Gifford

ĀPIHA TŪMATANUI, Ngai Tāuira 2018

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