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MIT’s first queer hui proves a huge success

MIT’s first queer hui proves a huge success

Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) has reached another milestone becoming the first institute in South Auckland to host a hui for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community in tertiary education.

The gathering titled 2014 Queers in Tertiary Hui attracted both national and international attention hosting guest speakers from the local community, wider New Zealand and the United States.

The hui explored a range of topics focusing on celebrating diversity and discussing the common social norms which prevent growth in the LGBT community.

Open to both academics and students, the day long event saw presentations from Massey University Associate Professor Mark Henrickson, George Washington University Associate Director Timothy Kane and Manukau City artist Tanu Gago.

MIT Head of School of Social Services John Hancox says, “South Auckland has the potential to be the melting pot of New Zealand but to achieve this, the LGBT community must have a place.”

“We have academics from all around New Zealand joining us at this hui and they will be able to take the idea’s we discuss today back to their hometowns and implement them,” he says.

“Hosting this hui at MIT sends a message of acceptance to our students and shows that here you can be in a safe place and eliminate that feeling of isolation.”

MIT Student Executive Voice member and Communication Studies student Elalio Tukuhaukara says, “I think the LGBT community is underrepresented in South Auckland but at the same time it is very prominent.

“The LGBT group at MIT is in its early stages but what I hope to create is a space for people to feel appreciated for who they are, find support and to just have fun,” he says.

“This hui has been really important for MIT because it is allowing staff and students to come together to learn new things, share ideas and celebrate how far we’ve come.”

George Washington University Associate Director for Inclusion Initiatives Timothy Kane says, “Today has been about celebrating diversity and shared identities.”

“In order to create a safer environment around the world for everybody, we need to impact laws and funding, social norms and policies and procedures,” he says.

“There are still significant challenges for the LGBT community so we are working to overcome these and provide a network which not only supports but celebrates all people.”

Manukau Institute of Technology hopes to see this hui become an annual event following its success this year.

ENDS

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