Ka hoki te ia o whakaaro ki taku tau tuatahi i te whare wananga, ki te āhua o te tamaiti Māori e noho nei i ngā whare noho a te whare wānanga. Ko au, he Māori i tipu mai i te mātōtorutanga o te reo, o te tikanga ki roto i te hāpori Māori. Ka hau mai ki Te Whanganui ā Tara, ā, tata toremi ana au i ngā ngaru taiāniwhaniwha o te ao Pakeha, kiri mā nei. He rerekē te reo, he rerekē ngā tikanga, he rerekē te waiaro, ka tika he ao hou ki au. Ruarua noaiho ngā kanohi Māori ka kitea, ā, he kōhimuhimu noaiho te rongo o te reo. Ko mokemoke, ko rangirua ka tau, ā, he mea whāngai i te pouritanga.
Ko te ruarua o Māori i reira i taua wā, he ringa āwhina, he ringa whakatau i taku wairua i te wā i reira au. Mokori anō kia mihia rātou kua whakapau werawera ki te hāpai i te hunga pihipū nei e kakari nei i te huarahi ki te tohu mātauranga. Heoi, ki au nei, me āta whakaritea e ngā whare noho tētahi rōpu motuhake ki te hāpai i ngā tauira Māori ka paripari mai ki ngā tai o te whare wānanga nei. Kia toka he rautaki, he ope rānei i ngā tau ki te mau, ki te hāpai i ngā tauira me ngā kaupapa Maori i roto i ngā whare noho.
I reminsce about my first year, living in one of the hostels here at Victoria University. I was a young bright-eyed Māori kid, raised in a Māori community that instilled te reo and culture in me from birth. I arrived in Wellington and was immediately overwhelmed by this new, mainly Pākeha world. I had to adapt to a new language, cultures, and worldviews in an environment that had very few Māori faces.
In my opinion, Victoria University could do a lot more to help young Māori students living in the hostels. Although some attempts are made to cater for the needs of these students, it is largely up to individuals within the hostel system to carry this role on their own backs. I believe a structure must be established at a management level to ensure that each hostel is able to provide support for Māori students, to minimize the culture shock these students inevitably go through when moving into the hostels.
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