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Speech to Te Taapapa ki te Manawa o te Wheke

30 June 2002 Hon Parekura Horomia
Speech Notes

Speech to Te Taapapa ki te Manawa o te Wheke – Winter School Programme, Rotorua


Mihi

Thank you for the invitation to speak to you this evening. As you will probably know the election campaign is now well underway. I have just driven down from the Labour Party campaign opening in Auckland.

While one could suspect that what I may say tonight, is all about campaigning, I will leave you to make up your own minds.

As I have said at many different education hui all around the country is that learning is a life long process. The decision to educate yourselves and to participate in education is often difficult. We have whanau responsibilities and work responsibilities, and there already seems not enough hours in the day.

Although if we think about the investment of our time energy and resources, what better use of our resources than to put them into the education of yourselves and our whanau!

For the students currently attending the Winter School Programme, I know that you are young at heart and mind, with a wisdom that has encouraged you to continue your learning.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of having ministerial Maori education responsibilities at this time is that there are so many Maori education leaders. The easiest way to teach younger generations the beauty, excitement and richness of learning, of "feeding the mind", is for them to see their older whanau members modelling that behaviour.

That is why all of you here today, staff, students and their friends and whanau supporting this kaupapa, are 'education leaders' in your whanau, and your communities.

I hope you are enjoying the learning - and the buzz - that comes with broadening your skills and knowledge, and I hope you will continue to enjoy it. Your participation here makes a huge contribution to the lives of your whanau.

It is exciting for me, to hear stories from our young children of how they have to go home and do their homework with their adult whanaunga, koro and nanny, because "they get homework from their kura too!"

Just as we have whakapapa to link us to our ancestors and to creation, all things have their own whakapapa.

Learning within whanau also has a whakapapa. What we want to do is ensure that the learning and education whakapapa exists and is strong in every whanau. It also needs to be nurtured and supported, so that it may be maintained, and passed on through the generations.

Each one of us has a vital role in helping build New Zealand as a knowledge society. We all have responsibilities that we must fulfil and in doing so make our contribution. You stand tall, among the growing number of people challenging themselves, to engage in further education and ensure a better future for themselves and their whanau.

One of our common challenges is to contribute to New Zealand as it lifts its economic game. While learning and getting educated is one aspect of that, there is a responsibility and obligation, on those whom have knowledge and wisdom, to share with others to benefit everybody.

So while many would say that knowledge is power, perhaps what I am saying is that knowledge brings with it responsibilities and obligations.

The recent tertiary education reforms are one aspect of the work this government is doing to combine the knowledge within sectors and across society, to help boost our nation’s economic performance. We want to hitch the tertiary education sector to the engine of the real economy, so it can better contribute to our goals as a country.

The government recently released a booklet called Excellence, Relevance, and Access that gives a good snapshot of current reforms to the tertiary education system. We have designed – and are now implementing - strategies to ensure the system is ready to help build a confident, distinctive, prosperous nation.

The new system will be more outward looking, connected, and responsive to the needs of industry, communities and iwi aspirations. We need a system that takes a strengths-based approach – one that builds on existing strengths and grows new ones. We need a system that pumps up the skill levels of all New Zealanders to ensure they get to fully participate in the economy and society.

At the heart of the reforms is our Tertiary Education Strategy 2002/07 – which challenges us to think about where we want the tertiary education system to be five years from now. Maori played a key role in determining the direction of the strategy, released in May.

During February, the Maori Tertiary Reference Group facilitated 15 consultation hui around New Zealand. The feedback from these hui, along with the Hui Taumata Matauranga and the views of different whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori community groups, helped inform the development of a Maori Tertiary Education Framework - and the final shape of the strategy.

Chaired by Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith, the group is made up of Maori working across the tertiary system with a diverse range of experience in post compulsory education.

The final document sets out six strategic priority areas for the system over the next five years. These are:
1. Strengthen system capability and quality;
2. Contribute to the achievement of whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori development aspirations;
3. Raise foundation skills, so all people can take part in our knowledge economy;
4. Develop the skills and knowledge New Zealanders need to actively participate our knowledge society;
5. Educate to ensure Pacific Peoples’ participation, development and success; and,
6. Strengthen the research, knowledge creation and the uptake within our knowledge society.

We want to see knowledge and enquiry more increasingly aligned with shared whanau, hapu, iwi, Maori community and national development goals. Many of our tertiary education institutions are already taking the smart approach to their research. There is a growing focus on collaboration between researchers and research clusters with specific focus on broad themes of research activity emerging.

This is a fundamental shift in the way tertiary education works and is an integral part of New Zealand's development.

The Centres of Research Excellence is building on and accelerating this positive activity. The one I’d like to focus on is Nga Pae o te Maramatanga (Horizons of Insight) - the National Institute of Research Excellence for Maori Development and Advancement hosted by the University of Auckland, one of only five CoRE's to receive funding.

This institute will take a strengths-based approach to focus and build on Maori education, health and science development. It plans to bring together Maori and western intellectual traditions and experience to generate new knowledge, that will lead to new technologies, and significantly improve socio-economic outcomes for Maori.

It will be important for them throughout their work they maintain the integrity of our traditional knowledge base around te reo and tikanga Maori, while building our research capability.

It is clear that the five CoRE's have the potential to make a major contribution to our future economic and social development. They highlight the major contribution that the tertiary sector can make to economic and social transformation.

CoRE links with the Hui Taumata Matauranga themes of collective collaboration, working together, smarter co-ordination, and increased inter-sectoral approaches to research.

Hui Taumata Matauranga, both the national and regional hui are building the way forward for Maori in education by aligning the shared education and development aspirations of the government with those of whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori communities.

Creating opportunities to establish partnerships with iwi is also part of the governments comprehensive approach that will lead to increased Maori educational achievement levels and accelerated development.

In conclusion, I would like to thank you all for taking up the challenge of seeking further education, and in doing so, demonstrating your enthusiasm to life-long learning. You are educational leaders in your home, within your whanau and in your community. Congratulations.

When you hear me say, that we need many more Maori with higher skill levels and education to contribute to whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori advancement, know that you are an important part of that development. Your participation is contributing to the development of New Zealand's knowledge society.

I know that it is not often that you have the opportunity to meet together and do your on-site work. I know that you will enjoy taking every opportunity to talk, listen and learn together for your time here and that the knowledge you gain here will contribute to the education and learning whakapapa of your whanau.

Na reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

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