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MAI ki Tāmaki relaunch

22nd August, 2012

MAI ki Tāmaki relaunch

MAI ki Tāmaki, a programme which supports and mentors Māori doctoral students at The University of Auckland, is being re-launched on Monday, August 27th at Waipapa Marae.

This event, which starts at 5pm, is being hosted by The University of Auckland, Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga (NPM) and supported by Ngāti Whātua. MAI ki Tāmaki is led by Dr Jenny Bol Jun Lee (Waikato, Ngāti Mahuta) Head of School Te Puna Wānanga (School of Māori Education), Faculty of Education and Dr Mera Penehira (Ngāti Raukawa), Health Research Council’s Hohua Tutengaehe Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

Dr Lee and Dr Penehira say they are excited about the reinvigoration of the programme at The University, and are both alumni of MAI ki Tāmaki.

“The launch will be an opportunity for Māori and indigenous doctoral students, supervisors, academics and researchers to meet and be inspired by each other,” says Dr Lee.

Professor Charles Ahukaramū Royal, Director of NPM will be the guest speaker, and the evening will be an opportunity to share the events planned for the year which include writing retreats, academic workshops, guest speakers, and the annual MAI conference.

The concept was developed initially in the 1990s by Professor Graham Smith and Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith at The University of Auckland, as a way to support Māori postgraduate students. MAI has since become a national programme of NPM for Māori and indigenous post-graduate advancement. The key focus is to provide a supportive network for the accelerated development of Māori and indigenous doctoral students.

Māori and indigenous doctoral students often experience isolation and a lack of support during their study and have identified these factors as barriers to ensuring a successful completion of their doctoral degrees. MAI seeks to redress these issues by providing opportunities for Māori and indigenous doctoral students to regularly come together in both a culturally and academic supportive forum. MAI has played a critical role in ensuring that Māori and indigenous academics succeed at the highest level. It has seen a steady increase in numbers of Māori students enrolled in doctoral degrees since the inception of MAI in 2002.

Central to the MAI programme is a Kaupapa Māori approach in which the underpinning principles of whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and wairuatanga are paramount to its activities. It is also a programme that emphasises the importance for Māori and indigenous scholars to remain grounded and connected to whānau, hapū, iwi and communities. The broader connection and engagement with one’s communities is one of the cornerstones of the programme. This is reflected in the studies and research that purposefully seek to contribute to the positive development of whānau, hapū, iwi, and community.

Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM) is a Centre of Research Excellence consisting of 16 participating research entities and hosted by The University of Auckland. NPM conducts research of relevance to Māori communities and is an important vehicle by which New Zealand continues to be a key player in global indigenous research and affairs. Its research is underpinned by the vision to realise the creative potential of Māori communities and to bring about positive change and transformation in the nation and wider world. Visit


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