Massey University Launches New Social Platform To Connect With Takatāpui And Rainbow Communities
Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University has launched a new platform to help connect with its takatāpui and rainbow communities and create a welcoming space to engage with staff and students.
Kāhui Irarau is a social platform which aims to house initiatives and content by and for takatāpui and rainbow people. Currently available via Facebook and Instagram, it is specifically for takatāpui and rainbow communities at Massey, including current students and staff, as well as alumni and their whānau.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Students and Global Engagement, Dr Tere McGonagle-Daly, Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue ki Maketu, says the university is proud to be launching a service that authentically represents takatāpui and rainbow communities and provides a safe place for them to connect.
“As part of Massey’s commitment to equal opportunities and diversity, the university has been working to strengthen initiatives around diversity and inclusion. This project is a part of that kaupapa, and is timely as February is not only the start of semester for our ākonga but it also launches our Pride celebrations in Tāmaki Makaurau.”
Kāhui Irarau was gifted its name by Massey University doctoral candidate Ngawiki-Aroha Rewita, Ngāti Porou, Te Arawa, Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Whakatōhea, with support from Pūkenga Reo Associate Professor Hone Morris, Ngāi Te Rangitotohu, Ngāti Mārau, Ngāti Maru, Ngāi Te Ao Kāpiti, and Diversity and Inclusion Advisor Connor McLeod, Rangitāne o Wairau. The term ‘kāhui’ refers to a grouping of both animate and inanimate things, while ‘irarau’ refers to one’s life principle, and more recently to a gene and the gender of people.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori, Professor Meihana Durie, Rangitāne, Ngāti Kauwhata, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou, Rongo Whakaata, Ngāi Tahu, says the initiative is timely and significant.
“Kāhui Irarau embodies a strong commitment to our people, our Massey whānau. Importantly, this kaupapa has been driven by our takatāpui and rainbow communities through several months of hui, kōrero and intention-setting.
“The kaupapa also draws guidance from the whakataukī: ‘E koekoe te kōkō, e ketekete te kākā, e kūkū te kereru.’ This proverb speaks to the distinctive identity and voice that each individual has, and goes to the importance of acknowledging and celebrating the richness of our diversity and the mana of our people.”
In recognition of the whakataukī, Kāhui Irarau‘s design and colour palette was inspired from the feathers of the three birds. Alongside Diversity and Inclusion Advisor Connor McLeod, Michael Kelly, Creative Director for Toi Rauwhārangi College of Creative Arts and Open Lab were responsible for championing the concept of Kāhui Irarau into a design and brand identity. Open Lab is a design studio at Massey’s Pukeahu campus in Wellington, which bridges the gap between academia and the design industry by nurturing emergent design talent from various design disciplines from the College of Creative Arts.
From the beginning, the design and project team worked on this kaupapa with inclusivity at its core and the visual identity and name being designed with a community and Te Tiriti-centred approach.
Open Lab facilitated a workshop with students and staff on Massey’s Pukeahu campus before creating an online survey to reach out to takatāpui and rainbow communities on its other campuses in Auckland and Manawatū, and received more than 120 responses. The survey showed respondents wanted to be seen, feel safe and supported, and to be able to push for positive change.
Massey is one of New Zealand’s leading educational institutions with campuses in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), Manawatū (Palmerston North) and Te Whanganui-a- Tara (Wellington). Catering for nearly 30,000 domestic and international ākonga each year, the university received Rainbow Tick certification in 2017 and is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all its staff and students.