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Māori students enthused by Hikoi response

28 August 2006

Māori students enthused by Hikoi response

Enthusiasm about the future marked the close of Te Huinga Tauira 2006, the national annual Māori tertiary students hui hosted this year at Te Herenga Waka marae, Victoria University in Wellington. As part of the hui, Māori students had marched to Parliament to present submissions to the government on Manaaki Tonu Te Tauira: Māori development through tertiary education.

“Māori students are returning to their homes with some assurance that positive changes are to be made” says Veronica Tawhai, Kaitūhono of Te Mana Ākonga, the National Māori Tertiary Students Association. “Our message was well received, and our students are optimistic about the developments to follow”.

The Members of Parliament that addressed the group were Labour Party’s Shane Jones, New Zealand First’s Pita Paraone, Greens Party’s Metiria Turei, and the Māori Party’s Pita Sharples and Hone Harawira. Shane Jones and Dave Hereora received the submissions on behalf of the government.

“Face to face acknowledgement by the MP’s of our issues went a long way towards addressing the anger Māori students have felt over the past few months. Of course, we will be waiting on any practical delivery of that acknowledgement. But the overall feeling of our members is one of hope”.

Previous to the hikoi, representatives of Te Mana Ākonga had met with Māori Affairs Minister, Parekura Horomia, to discuss the issues of the campaign, and in particular, raising the level of Māori student’s staircasing into and completing qualifications at degree level.

“We’re extremely pleased to have received confirmation from Mr. Horomia that he is keen to continue to work with Te Mana Ākonga on these issues. We are definitely leaving Te Huinga Tauira with raised spirits, and look anxiously towards any developments to come in the following year” concluded Miss Tawhai.


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