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Recommendations For School Welcomed By Students

Victoria University Of Wellington Release

Recommendations For School Welcomed By Students’ Association

Recommendations from an external review carried out on the School of Mäori Studies Te Kawa a Maui at Victoria University have been welcomed by Te Mana Akonga (Inc), the National Mäori University Students’ Association. The results of the review were recently released in a report to the Vice-Chancellor by the Review Panel.

“Some of the recommendations raise some interesting points for the university to consider”, announces Danica Waiti, kaitühono for Te Mana Akonga, “and also provide the basis for the School to move in a new and positive direction”.

Reviewers have recommended that the management structure of the School be flat rather than hierarchical, where the responsibility is shared among four senior staff members. It is suggested that this type of management structure will address the fact that the School is different from other Schools within the university because it has a responsibility to uphold two distinctly different cultural traditions; to be a repository of matauranga Mäori as well as work within the academic structure of the university.

“This recommendation is important because it asks the university to recognise the uniqueness of Te Kawa a Maui. On one hand the School aims to provide matauranga Mäori and all that that encumbers, and on the other hand it is part of an academic environment which is typically mainstream. Achieving a balance is not an easy task and the responsibility is often placed on one person, the Chair of the School”, states Miss Waiti.

Recommendation 28 asks that the university develop a kaupapa on its statutory obligations to Mäori under the Treaty of Waitangi. These obligations are set out in Article 3 which guarantees to Mäori all the rights of British citizenship. The reviewers have called for a move away from the so-called ‘principles’ of the Treaty of Waitangi.

“No-one really knows what the ‘principles’ of the Treaty of Waitangi are. Using Article 3 as a basis means stronger, clearer guidelines for the university to work to in its delivery of quality education to its Mäori students”, says Miss Waiti.

While the review has raised some important points for the university to consider, the need for a review into the institution as a whole in terms of its delivery of quality education to Mäori has been identified. Recent falls in numbers of Mäori enrolments (a 17.2% decline between 1998-99) suggest that Victoria University is not appealing to Mäori students.

“Universities need to recognise that they have a responsibility to Mäori students that extends far beyond the Mäori Studies Departments of those institutions. The responsibility lies with the institution as a whole because there are Mäori students in all of the Faculties, in all of the Schools”, concludes Miss Waiti.


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