As a student who is only starting out at university, learning to manage heavy workloads and keep up with lectures and tutorials, life can be both stressful and intimidating. We first years are still trying to find our feet, and for many of us it is our first time away from family. For many of our Māori students, our Kelburn on-campus Marae, Te Herenga Waka, is a place of rest and gives a sense of home.
On 20 March, students of all ages were given the opportunity to attend the Pūrangiaho event, held at Te Herenga Waka Marae and organised by the executives of Ngāi Tauira, the Māori Students’ Association.
This wānanga was a chance for students to come together and learn about the rich heritage of Te Herenga Waka Marae and some of the past students who have also attended Victoria University, and the history of Ngāi Tauira. Guest speakers included whaea Te Ripowai Higgins, taurima and manager of Te Herenga Waka Marae; Marie Cocker, manager of Te Putahi Atawhai Student Services; and Te Wehi Wright, one of the presidents and leaders of Ngāi Tauira.
Not only was this wānanga held to offer students an insight into the history of our Marae and the success of past Māori students, it was an opportunity to look at where we see Ngāi Tauira in the future, and to work on our succession plan to see our Māori community at Victoria grow and prosper. There were many ideas on how we, as a community, could work to ensure the success of our peers in school and reach those who have yet to join Ngāi Tauira.
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Our goal in the upcoming future is to see our community grow and strengthen. Ngāi Tauira firmly believes in whānaungatanga (a sense of family connection), Māori and peer success, and Māori recognition; being proud of our culture, heritage and Māori community. Ngāi Tauira works to build strong bonds with all its members and create a care-free and welcoming environment for all students. Ngāi Tauira is a family that welcomes, with open arms, new students every day.
Pūrangiaho was an opportunity for students to feel that sense of belonging both Ngāi Tauira and Te Herenga Waka offer to its students. It was a chance to meet new friends, learn about our Marae’s construction and rich history, and successful Māori students of Victoria University. Now, with this new found knowledge, we hope to guide Ngāi Tauira and our Māori community down the path of success and a prosperous future.