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September 24, 2018 | by  | in Ngāi Tauira | [ssba]

NT: Te Ara Tauira

Many tauira Māori feel the pressures of what it means to be the first in their whānau to attend university.
What it feels to have the weight of our tīpuna on our shoulders. And the inherent pressure to succeed that comes with that. Drop-out rates for Māori students in tertiary education are still disproportionately high. One reason I see for this is the fact that the university itself is a Pākehā institution — one that constantly breeds feelings of not belonging, of being isolated from our Māoridom and our whenua. How is it? That on our own land, we are still made to feel like aliens in the land of OUR ancestors. This triggers me on the daily tbh.
There are plenty of ways I see that this university could do better for Māori students. One of which is having more Māori student leaders, especially in organisations like VUWSA. When I was in first year I went to the orientation day and vividly remember looking at the exec on the stage and thinking “well, none of them look like me”. Not to mention having more Māori representation in Salient.
A few weeks ago was Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. I felt empowered by the kaupapa and the ways that more and more students and staff were adopting reo into their daily lives.That week I felt more like I belonged at this institution than I ever have. Hearing and seeing people express an interest in things Māori, and seeing people reading Te Ao Mārama was one of the most validating things ever. So let’s take it further than just one week! Kia kaha te reo!


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