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Māori Staff At Unitec Call Out Te Pūkenga On Futile ‘pledge’

A publicly distributed pledge on behalf of Te Pūkenga Board Chair emphasising its commitment to partnership with Māori has been slammed by Unitec’s Māori staff collective, Te Rōpū Mataara.

Te Rōpū Mataara claims the pledge hasn’t led to any effective solutions and is essentially sanctioning the continued marginalisation and mistreatment of Māori staff and students.

Te Rōpū Mataara spokesperson, Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan says, “as a collective we’ve outlined ten key points highlighting the inane nature of this document which was crafted and distributed without the input from Māori staff and students.”

The pledge outlines a number of areas Te Pūkenga reaffirms commitment to, but not once does it address the cultural safety and vulnerability of Māori staff actively being forced to navigate this situation with no voice or guaranteed protection at the executive or governance level.

Jenny Lee-Morgan says, “this pledge is a weak attempt to address the crisis experienced by Māori staff at Unitec, that we have been articulating since the beginning of the year. The pledge will not change anything for us as Māori staff; it is a futile document that does not take our concerns seriously”.

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon will be meeting with Te Rōpū Mataara this month, following the lodging of a formal complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

A vote of no confidence in Unitec/MIT Subsidiary Board Chair has been passed and Te Rōpū Mataara and respected kaumātua who have stepped in to advocate for the group are demanding his resignation.

Te Tira Kāpuia Chair, Rangi McLean says, “we support Te Rōpū Mataara and their call for genuine and meaningful engagement with Māori, to fulfil their Te Tiriti obligations and form real partnerships”.

Te Rōpū Mataara has provided a list of the top ten points outlining the pledge’s empty nature, which can be viewed in full here.

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