Maori students demand more support from tertiary institutions

(L-R) Jerry Daniels, Geneveine Wilson, Steven Heke and Jade Chase at the conference at Te Wananga o Aotearoa.
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(L-R) Jerry Daniels, Geneveine Wilson, Steven Heke and Jade Chase at the conference at Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Maori tertiary educators and students gathered to discuss, debate and challenge current teaching and learning issues.

The theme for the hui was Te Manu Matauranga: Sharing Successful Maori Teaching Practices and Learning Strategies.

A panel discussion titled Rangatahi: 'How can the tertiary sector better manaaki tauira?' or Youth: How can the tertiary sector better serve students? saw representatives from the University of Auckland and Victoria University of Wellington and Te Wananga o Aotearoa. 

Jerry Daniels says there has to be a conscious effort to help Maori students in university.
KYMBERLEE FERNANDES/FAIRFAX NZ

Jerry Daniels says there has to be a conscious effort to help Maori students in university.

Nga Tauira Maori co-president at the University of Auckland, Jerry Daniels says there has to be a conscious effort to identify Maori students and help through their journey at the university.

He studied at Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae in Mangere and says university can be very intimidating for many.

"I believe that you can have all the flash strategies in the world, but unless you know the students personally, not much will change," he says.

Co-president of Victoria University's Maori Student Association, Ngai Tauira, Geneveine Wilson says students should "always be given the space to talk about things".

"It's easy to open to Maori boards, but sometimes those discussions need to happen at a higher level".

She says every institution should have a marae.

"I can't stress enough the importance of having that cultural space. Sometimes we do need a time out, and that's the place to go. If you take that space away from tauira, of course, they are going to face adversity, they are going to struggle".

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Another issue she brought up is "giving us the space to criticise our situation". 

Sometimes students are afraid to voice their opinions, she says.

"I think it all about having a discussion, relationships and having a safe place to be Maori," she concludes.

The two-day event was held at Te Wananga o Aotearoa and put together by Ako Aotearoa – the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence.

 - Stuff

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