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July 20, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Maori call for seat on university council – UPDATED

Hook us up with a seat, bey.

The composition of Victoria’s University council has been questioned by Maori students’ association Ngai Tauira, who’ve taken umbrage with the council’s lack of a Maori seat.

The University Council, which has the final say on policy at the university, is required to offer “at least 1, but not more than 3” seats to representatives of a students’ association.

Victoria allocates two of these seats currently, but Ngai Tauira President Victor Manawatu would like the council to consider opening the third seat for Maori student representation.

Of the 20 member council, the two seats allocated for student representation are currently filled by VUWSA President Jasmine Freemantle and NZUSA National co-President Jordon King. 

The last time a bid was made for Maori representation on the council was in 2001. 

Manawatu said that Ngai Tauira had current representation on all faculties, academic committees and academic boards, and that its presence on the council would add a much-needed Maori voice.

“Maori society has made rapid progress over the last twenty years to the point where we do have the knowledge and capability to participate successfully at the governance level,” Manawatu said.

Victoria University Chancellor Tim Beaglehole said that while the university had considered including Ngai Tauira in other years, it was constitutionally unable to increase the size of the council.

“The only way to increase the number in any one category of membership would be by a corresponding decrease in another category,” Beaglehole said.

Beaglehole explained that it would be up to students to decide the makeup of their representatives on the council.

If Ngai Tauira were successful in their bid for the seat, Victoria will be only the second New Zealand University to allocate a specific Maori seat on its Council. 

The University of Canterbury already has one seat, filled in consultation with local iwi, Ngai Tahu. 

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