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March 20, 2017 | by  | in Ngāi Tauira | [ssba]

Ngāi Tauira

As Māori at university, it is often the case that we are motivated to succeed by the mahi that we know needs to be done — to help our whānau, to help our home towns, to help our iwi, and, more widely, to help te iwi Māori in general. However, this journey we strive for is not getting easier. The Tertiary Education Union recently published a report stating that “the tertiary education sector is failing to meet the needs of Māori staff and students.” They cited many different reasons for this, including a lack of support services, and a failure to provide effective learning environments.

As a people, I believe we are flourishing, but certainly there are several things that we as tauira feel could change for the better. Many students that I spoke to felt that Māori could be better utilised in all classes. No matter what you are studying, ideas from Te Ao Māori can apply in some way. Incorporating things such as whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, mōhiotanga, as well as tikanga, into the daily lives of students will benefit all, not just Māori.

The report also raised the issue of “whitestreaming,” where Māori academic support personnel, those amazing kaimahi who support us through the university journey, are being swapped out in favour of more general support services for all students. The result is that there are many people left in the gap. These support services are not just staff, but also students as well. Groups on campus such as Ngā Rangahautira and Ngā Taura Umanga struggle to get funding, as students, for the work they do. University is an experience that should be possible for all. Māori at university are on the rise, but I think making space to discuss how we can do better is always important.

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