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Unitec’s Whānau–Fanau Evening moves online, keeping families close to the heart of students’ experience

Unitec is staging a virtual Whānau-Fanau evening for its Māori and Pacific students to ensure that families remain an integral part of the student journey, despite the challenges of COVID-19.  

This follows on from Unitec’s recent Virtual Open Day which took visitors on a 360-degree tour of its Mt Albert and Waitākere campuses and facilities using Virtual Reality technology, and offered a range of interactive sessions and activities.


The bi-annual Whānau-Fanau evenings are designed to connect first year students and their whānau to the support and assistance networks available at Unitec, as well as give teaching staff a greater appreciation of the family commitments and responsibilities of some of their students.  This semester’s event has been shifted online due to earlier uncertainty around COVID-19 alert levels, and families, students and staff members will be able to connect with each other via Zoom; a tool that students are already using for their online studies.


Toni Rewiri, Unitec’s Director of Māori Success, said that despite not being able to meet whānau in person and share kai, the virtual event would still give families, students and staff the opportunity to share kōrero.


“We’ll still be able to meet our Māori and Pacific students and their whanau, and to start to engage in whakawhanaungatanga so they feel a sense of belonging at Unitec. We know that if our students feel a sense of manaaki, they are more likely to be successful in completing their study. These events, along with the pōhiri and wānanga show our Māori and Pacific students that we care about their success.”

“We know that juggling home and study commitments is difficult for many of our students, and especially so this year, given the challenges of COVID-19,” said Dr Falaniko Tominiko, Unitec’s Director of Pacific Success. “It’s important that we still provide an opportunity for everyone to connect, share experiences and learn about what we can offer in the way of support at Unitec.”

Dr Falaniko said that family support is very important for Pacific students so having an opportunity for them to understand what is required to support their family member is vital to the student’s success.  

“Outside of study, Pacific students have many other responsibilities and their families need to know that studying is also a commitment.  It’s important that they support their family member’s need to put aside time for their studies.”

The virtual Whānau-Fanau evening will be held on Wednesday, 14 October from 5.30-7pm.  To register via Zoom, click here.

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