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NZUSA Holds 2021 Student Voice Summit

Over the weekend student leaders from across Aotearoa attended NZUSA’s annual Student Voice Summit, held in partnership with Te Mana Ākonga, Tauira Pasifika, NZISA and the National Disabled Students’ Association.

This years’ Summit was the first to be attended by both the University and Polytechnic sectors, and signals NZUSA’s desire to bring the tertiary sector together to share best practice and collaborate on solving the significant issues that our students face.

NZUSA National President Andrew Lessells says that “This weekend’s Student Voice Summit has been a huge success. We were bold and ambitious in our planning, bringing the Universities and Polytechnics together, in a way that has never been done before”.


“COVID-19 certainly threw a spanner in the works, but we ended up with an online two-day Summit that was the largest event that NZUSA has held in a decade. Over 120 student representatives and tertiary sector leaders attended the Summit and shared their views on how we can be bold and redefine the education system to truly put learners at the centre”.

The keynote speaker at the Summit was the Minister of Education Chris Hipkins, who spoke of his vision for the education system and was presented with Whiria Ngā Rau: Progressing from Student Voice to Partnership, a framework designed by learners, as a gift to the tertiary sector.

At the end of the second day, student leaders developed definitions of what the Tertiary Education Strategy’s primary objective of “learners at the centre” means to them. NZUSA is compiling this voice to help tertiary institutions truly understand how learners want them to embed the TES objectives into decision making and governance.

Te Mana Ākonga Tumuaki Takirua Nkhaya Paulsen-More says “Having tauira come together from all across the tertiary sector was incredible to see. We were privileged to hear from a variety of student leaders over the Summit, and are excited to welcome our incoming tauira in their new roles as we help them develop their skills and look forward to the next Summit.”

NZUSA and its partners will be creating ongoing professional development opportunities for student leaders based on the discussions held at the Student Voice Summit.

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