A proactive partnership forged between Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Māia and Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka (Unitec) aims to encourage more Māori into tertiary education.
The partnership has led to the development of a dedicated scholarship with Unitec to support Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei uri wanting to pursue vocational education.
Atakura Hunia of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Māia says in conjunction with the scholarship, the iwi will collaborate closely with Unitec to bolster the pastoral support available for its students.
“We are constantly looking at how we have supported our people in the past and how can we better support them moving forward. At this stage we have a small number to work with at Unitec which allows us to tailor robust care plans to ensure that they have strong support wrapped around them.”
Three scholarships valued at $2,500 are now available for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei uri to assist in covering education related costs. Applicants for the scholarship must demonstrate a commitment to benefitting their local and Unitec communities and maintain engagement with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and kaupapa-ā-iwi.
Atakura Hunia says the collaborative development of this scholarship has created a meaningful kaupapa that is less prescriptive and shaped in a way that better suits the students.
“What we’ve found is the average age of our tertiary students is 25, so we know we’re dealing with mātua (parents), we are dealing with māmā and pāpā who want to pursue study while looking after their tamariki and trying to raise a whānau. All of these things need to be considered and support needs to be shaped to fit our people, not the other way around.”
Unitec’s Director of Māori Success Toni Vaughan says forging and maintaining iwi partnerships ensures authentic and meaningful support for Māori continues to evolve in tertiary education.
“Iwi have a genuine understanding and insight into what their people require to succeed and the guidance Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Māia have provided throughout this process has led to the creation of something we believe will resonate with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei descendants.”
Atakura says Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Māia team are looking forward to sharing the kaupapa with whānau and supporting them in the application process and throughout their study.
“We have strong relationships with numerous educational institutes and industry across Tāmaki Makaurau, we’re really excited to be working with Unitec and open another door of opportunity for our amazingly talented people.”