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New Position at VUW Positive for Maori

The recent announcement of Piri Sciascia as Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Maori) at Victoria University is strongly supported by Te Mana Akonga (Inc.), the National Maori University Students’ Association.

“As an observer of the selection process for the position, and with knowledge of Mr Sciascia’s strengths and strong Maori background, we are confident that he will be an asset to Victoria University staff and more importantly, a strong voice for Maori students”, says Danica Waiti, Kaituuhono for Te Mana Akonga (Inc.).

Victoria University has recently received a considerable amount of negative media coverage. Indications of falling Maori enrolments and accusations of institutional racism have hit the university hard in terms of public perception. “It is promising to see that the university is indeed working towards its commitment to Maori students, as well as staff, as set out in the university charter”, says Miss Waiti.

“Victoria University recently failed to meet one of its objectives to increase numbers of Maori enrolments. In 1999 the number of Maori enrolments fell by 17.2%. However, we believe it has also just reached one of its objectives towards a more effective partnership structure, through the appointment of an Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Maori)”, says Miss Waiti.

“The position is a step forward for Maori students at Victoria University. At last there will be a strong Maori voice at the highest level of the university structure. The position indicates that Maori aspirations and needs are of importance to the university and this will indeed be good news for Maori who may be considering enrolling at Victoria University in the future, and for current Maori students”, suggests Miss Waiti.

The newly-appointed position should be of interest to other universities around the country who also contend to have a commitment to Maori students and staff.

“Let us not forget that all universities, as agents of the Crown, have a responsibility to Maori under the articles of the Treaty of Waitangi. This responsibility includes equal access to participation and equal voice for Maori, as partners to the Treaty”, states Miss Waiti.

“It has taken Victoria University over 100 years to realise their commitment to Maori students and staff, how long will it take for the rest of the universities to catch up?”

For further information contact:

Danica Waiti Ph. 04 498 2506 or 021 440 279
Te Mana Akonga (Inc.)

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