9 October 2018
New partnership formed to empower Pasifika
student voice in tertiary education
The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) and New Zealand Tongan Tertiary Students’ Association (NZTTSA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding expressing their joint commitment to uplifting the Pasifika student voice.
‘The tertiary student population is vast and diverse. If NZUSA is to genuinely represent the interests of all students, then we need to be as inclusive as possible,’ says NZUSA President Jonathan Gee. ‘NZTTSA’s voice in national level discussions is vital as the Pacific student population grows.’
‘NZTTSA is currently the only national organisation that exists to represent an ethnic Pacific student body,’ says NZTTSA President Mary Jane Kivalu. ‘As the Pacific enrolment numbers increase in several programmes and institutions, it is important that we speak up as users of the tertiary education system. Only we can speak to what works for us, so we can either make a change or be someone else’s change.’
Last year, NZUSA established the position of National Pasifika Liaison Officer in order to establish a network of Pasifika student leaders and to eventually work towards a national Pasifika student body. The role coincides with the development of an enhancement theme by the Academic Quality Agency, which brings university leaders (including students) together to improve access, opportunity and outcomes for Māori students and Pasifika students.
The MoU details how the relationship will be operationalised, which includes building greater Tongan and/or Pacific voice in national level discussions on student issues such as financial support and mental health. It also includes presenting at each others’ conferences, and working collaboratively on student campaigns.
NZUSA is the national voice of students in tertiary education. It represents the interests of students through research, campaigns and lobbying; and provides support to institution-based students' associations. It is owned by students’ associations in universities, polytechnics and institutes of technology across the country. Founded in 1929, its vision is to fight for a barrier education for all.
NZTTSA is the national voice of Tongan students in tertiary education. It represents the interests of Tongan students on a national scale and provides support to institution-based Tongan students' associations. It is currently the only Pacific national representative organisation.