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Māori Tertiary Students Hikoi to Parliament

National Māori Tertiary Students’ Association

Māori Tertiary Students Hikoi to Parliament

This Thursday Māori tertiary students from all over Aotearoa will gather in Wellington to march to parliament. The march launches the Manaaki Tonu Te Tauira campaign, which promotes Māori development through tertiary education. The purpose of the march is for Māori tertiary students to present submissions to the government about their concerns and hopes in this area.

“Manaaki Tonu Te Tauira is a message to government to nurture the potential of Māori students, and thereby the development of our whānau, hapū and iwi, through tertiary education” says Veronica Tawhai, Kaitūhono of Te Mana Ākonga, the National Māori Tertiary Students Association. “This message comes in response to recent changes in the tertiary sector that we feel threatens that potential”.

“Specifically, Māori students are concerned over the quality and relevance reviews, and are angered over the withdrawal of Māori achievement support funding to providers, and the abolishment of financial aid to Māori students such as the Manaaki Tauira grant”.

“We are also outraged over government’s support of the Deletion of the Treaty of Waitangi Principles Bill. Support of it’s ‘first reading only’ is still support, plain and simple, and a clear message to Māori students that our needs go out the door for the sake of keeping in power”.

Other student associations and the wider community will be welcomed onto Te Herenga Waka marae at 11am to join those already there attending Te Huinga Tauira, the annual national Māori tertiary students hui. The group will hear a guest speaker, then leave the marae for Parliament grounds at 2pm. At Parliament grounds there will be student speeches, waiata, the handing over of submissions, and the opportunity for the Minister of Tertiary Education, the Minister of Māori Affairs, and other Members of Parliament, to address the gathering.

“We wish to provide the government with a clear picture of Māori students’ needs and aspirations in tertiary education. Recent decisions have shown how truly far removed government is from the Māori student reality. These submissions demand review of current changes in the sector, such as the abolishment of Manaaki Tauira, and the consideration of this reality in further policy development” concludes Miss Tawhai.

ENDS

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