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Otago Polytechnic To Collaborate With University Of Otago On Welcome Video

Otago Polytechnic is teaming up with the University of Otago to produce a combined video welcoming students and new staff to both institutions though mihi whakatau, pōwhiri and waiata.

Because of Covid-19 public health measures, a range of Otago Polytechnic Orientation events have had to be cancelled. These include special events such as mihi whakatau for all new students, and Māori student pōwhiri at a range of marae (Ōtākou, Puketeraki and Moeraki).

"In discussion with the University of Otago, we are planning a joint approach with Te Huka Mātauraka (University of Otago Māori Centre) and have contracted Māui Studios to film and edit a welcome video," says Megan Potiki, Manukura Tuarua - Mana Taurite/Deputy Chief Executive Partnership and Equity, Otago Polytechnic.

"We have a responsibility to ensure Mana whenua are the first point of call when welcoming students to Otago Polytechnic and that the kawa and tikaka of all those involved is upheld. Events such as mihi whakatau are not an ‘add-on’. They are intrinsic to our values.

"The purpose of the video approach is to replicate all the messaging that would normally occur on marae at pōwhiri or large mihi whakatau."

The film will start with a mihi from Mana whenua, shot on each marae, followed by a "visual pepeha" and waiata. From there, the institutions will record footage more relevant to each.

The intent is that the video will go "live" before the majority of students start studying on February 21.

OPSA events affected by Covid

The Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association has cancelled several day-time Orientation events because of Covid-19 Red restrictions.

"We've had to cancel all our lunchtime events involving food as these would likely exceed permitted numbers," says Lesley Scoullar, OPSA Student Services Manager.

"We have contacted academic programmes and advised them that should they wish to organise a welcome-back lunch or event with fewer than 100 people, they are welcome to inform OPSA and we can assist with funding.

"OPSA doesn't organise evening events, as our students are able to attend OUSA-organised Orientation events, although we understand some of those have been cancelled."

The cancelled events, the first of which was due to start on February 21, include a barbecue, African drumming, Taco Tuesday, Mac & Cheese Monday, a Māori and Pasifika lunch, as well as OPSA’s Annual General Meeting (31 March).

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