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March 18, 2019 | by  | in News |
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Māori and Pasifika support services: New phone, who dis?

Gone are the days of Te Rōpū Āwhina and Te Pūtahi Atawhai.

Previously combined, Māori and Pasifika support services have been separated in an attempt to improve student recruitment, retention, and results.

The two individual teams, Āwhina (for Māori students) and Pasifika Student Success (for Pasifika students), aim to offer comprehensive, university-wide support in all faculties.

Splitting enables both teams to streamline their services without making the cultural compromises they would have prior to 2019.

Ali Leota, Academic Officer for the Pacific Students’ Council (PSC), sees the change as a great opportunity for Māori and Pasifika to achieve more autonomy.

Data will also be more distinguishable, allowing a better assessment of growth and strategic framework alignment.

Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) Hon Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban has noted a greater “capacity for longer-term strategic thinking.”

The teams’ relocation reflects their change to a ‘hub and spoke’ approach; operations are being centralised to one point (the ‘hub’) from which students can be directed to faculty-specific support (the ‘spoke’).

Excited about the rebranding, Marie Cocker, Director of Te Herenga Waka Marae, believes the transformation gives Māori and Pasifika students a single, simple pathway to services, and hopes it will improve engagement.

Whānau rooms across all three campuses will still be maintained as shared Māori and Pasifika spaces.

Ngāi Tauira (NT) Academic Officer, Te Mapihi Tutua-Nathan, is aware students already accustomed to Te Rōpū Āwhina and Te Pūtahi Atawhai ways may need extra support to transition smoothly. Otherwise, she agrees the change is for the best.

Both PSC and NT were given opportunities to contribute to the planning processes but lacked the student involvement to properly utilise them.

Despite the absence of student input, PSC and NT are happy with the changes and agree they are a step in the right direction.

It will be some time before the results of the changes are noticed, but with staff and students on board, there may be no need to cross fingers.

Āwhina can be found at Te Herenga Waka Marae (46 Kelburn Parade). Pasifika Student Success is located at Pasifika Haos (15 Mount Street).


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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this