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MIT Celebrates 20 Years of Māori Achievement

Manukau Institute of Technology is marking the anniversary of the opening of its marae, Ngā Kete Wānanga, Ōtara, with the release of a report detailing the institute’s commitment to Māori.

“The report, Te Rautaki Matauranga Māori is a clear picture of how MIT is responding to the needs and aspirations of tauira. There are significant successes to be celebrated, but also work that still needs to be done,” says Dr Robert Sullivan, Deputy CE – Māori.

It shows Hokule’a, the institute’s early advisement programme that was trialled last year for Māori and Pasifika students enrolled in trades and engineering courses dramatically improved completion and retention rates for these groups.

Completion at levels 1-4 increased by 23% and retention rates also greatly improved by 26% across the 11 programmes involved.

“These results were very pleasing and allowed us to cut the gap in completion between Māori and non-Māori in half in just twelve months. However, there still remains a six percent disparity between the groups which is unacceptable and requires further focus,” says Dr Sullivan.

Hokule’a provides increased pastoral care and support to tauira while identifying risk factors that historically have increased the chances of non-completion. These include a student being the first in their family to enter tertiary education, being the bread winner for the household and facing transport issues getting to and from campus.

On 20 June, a flag-raising and formal pōwhiri followed by a networking function will honour the twentieth anniversary of the marae’s opening in 1999.

However, the campaign to found a marae at the institute began more than thirty years ago when the challenge was first laid down to open such a facility for its students, staff and wider community.

Ngā Kete Wānanga is a taonga, not just for MIT but as an asset for the area and is an ‘open-hearted gateway’ to the beginning of campus life for our students who are all welcomed there.

Numerous community groups, sports teams and government agencies use the facilities for meetings and accommodation.

It is known locally not just for the warmth of the welcome, but also for its underfloor heating, much appreciated in winter months.

The team based at the marae is a key part of Manukau Institute of Technology’s responsibility to improve educational outcomes for Māori and connect all students to high value employment.

The revitalisation of te reo is a major focus, with staff offering free courses to the community as well as programmes for inmates at Auckland South Corrections Facility.

Cultural competency training that helps local service providers better understand and engage with Māori is an increasing part of the marae’s outreach to groups such as Competenz and the Employers and Manufacturers Association.

Currently, a Bachelor of Nursing –Māori qualification is being established to help train more Māori nurses as well as achieve better health outcomes.

“Our marae is not just the cultural heart of MIT. While the expertise of its kaimahi are an important part of our role uplifting the achievements and aspirations of Māori, the role of Ngā Kete Wānanga is much broader than that,” says MIT Chief Executive, Gus Gilmore.

“It is the place a modern multi-ethnic institute comes together under one roof to pursue a collective goal.”

In the lead-up to the anniversary, a new poutokomanawa (carved central post) has been installed in the whare nui which was carved by Fred Harrison, son of the late tohunga whakairo, Dr Pakaariki Harrison, the master carver of the whare.


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