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September 4, 2006 | by  | in News |
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Maori Students Rally for Return of Grants

A petition protesting the removal of Manaaki Tauria grants may be considered by a select committee, after a march on Parliament by Maori students just over a week ago.

The march marked the launch of Te Mana Akonga’s ‘Manaaki Tonu Te Tauria: Maori development through tertiary education’ campaign, aimed at raising the numbers of Maori students completing tertiary education.

The petition called for a return of the Manaaki Tauria grants, ‘need’ based grants for Maori students formerly administered by the Maori Education Trust, which were cut in May’s budget.

Veronica Tawhai Kaituhono of Te Mana Akonga, the Maori students’ association, says other goals of the campaign are to see the return of special funding for tertiary institutions based on the number of Maori students, along with the development of a “Maori perspective” in the current tertiary reforms.

The petition, received by Labour MPs Shane Jones and Dave Hereroa on behalf of Minister of Tertiary Education Michael Cullen, has been presented to the Office of the Clerk. At the time of writing, however, it is not yet known whether it will be sent on to a select committee for consideration.

Tawhai is heralding the march, which attracted several hundred people, as a success, saying “face to face acknowledgement by the MP’s of our issues went a long way towards addressing the anger Maori students have felt”.

The march was held during the annual Maori students hui over the mid-trimester break.

MPs from four different political parties addressed the protesters, with Maori Party MP Hone Harawira urging those gathered to continue their opposition to cuts to the grants. Tawhai says Te Mana Akonga will be expecting a progress report by the end of the year, and the prospects for change were “looking really promising.”

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Nicola Kean: feature writer, philanthropist, womanly woman. Nicola is the smallest member of the Salient team, but eats really large pieces of lasagne. Favourites include 80s music, the scent of fresh pine needles and long walks on the beach.

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