The University of Otago Mäori Centre was initiated in 1988/89
as a direct result of the Watts Report and equity funding
released by government. Mäori staff, students, AVC Humanities
and the Registrar at that time created this development. It was
from these groups that the Mäori Centre was developed, with
senior management also contributing to the decision. Firstly as
a support mechanism for Mäori students that had to be easily
identifiable and a place where outside interest (Mäori community)
could meet the University.
The Mäori Centre was opened in April 1989 and
was situated on the corner of Castle St, Montgomery Ave and St Davids
Street, now known as 515 Castle Street North. In those early years
the Mäori Centre was under the management of Registry and coordinated
by one staff member, whom worked closely with the Mäori Liaison
Officer who was based in Registry and the staff of Mäori Studies.
The Mäori Centre utilised both residences 515 and 519 Castle
Street North where there were study rooms, emergency live-in facilities
and a small library.
In 1990, the Mäori Centre allocated two rooms
to the current Te Kohanga Reo o Araiteuru at 515 Castle Street North.
In June 1991, the Mäori Centre moved to 519 Castle
Street North, with the Centres primary aim being to support
first year students with their studies, the University environment,
and provide examination technique workshops, essay writing and tutorials.
That year 515 Castle Street became the whare for Te Kohanga Reo
The Mäori Centre continued to work under this
mantle until 1995 when it closed for 4 months. Later that year a
part-time Manager/Centre Supervisor was employed, and worked alongside
the Mäori Liaison Officer and the Secretary. The objectives
extended to provide support for the academic and personal needs
of students. The staff worked from a kaupapa Mäori perspective
and offered scholarship and grant information, liaison and welfare
advice, study facilities, and a resource library.
In 1996 three major events occurred concerning the
Mäori Centre; the Treaty of Waitangi review upon the University
Charter, the Mäori pre-graduation celebrations and a competition
to design a Mäori Centre symbol on Campus.
Simon Kaan (Fine Arts Student) won with the taonga you see embraced
on our home page. The Manaia represents the meeting and merging
of two cultures. As a carrier of all life essences it embraces the
differences to enhance a journey of infinity, one that education
continues to take us on.
In 1997, the Mäori Liaison Officer and Centre Supervisor resigned
leaving the Centre to be co-ordinated by the Tutorial Coordinator
and Office Administrator.
Later that year the Mäori Centre was managed by the department
of Mäori Studies. This continued until 1999 when the Mäori
Centre was placed under the management of the Director of Student
Support Services. Later that year the Mäori Centre became a
Cost Centre of Student Support Services.
In 2000, two major events occurred; 3 staff appointments were made
which included a permanent Manager, and the Memorandum of Understanding
was signed between the University of Otago and Ngäi Tahu.
Today, there are five permanent staff at the Centre; Manager, Office
Administrator, Mäori Community Liaison Officer, Mäori
Student Support Coordinator and Mäori Counsellor.
With our resources growing over the years, the variety of materials
available for students include a comprehensive collection of lecture
notes (from the previous five years) for papers which we provide
tutorials, past examination papers, assignments and essays. We also
have a library which consists of some course textbooks, assorted
readings, videos and other technical resources available for use
In 2006 the MC had an administrative review which gave the Centre
a favourable review including several recommendations for the Centre
and University future plans
In 2007, 1491 Mäori Students enrolled at the University of Otago
with 380 of these students registering for the first time. The Mäori
Centre strives to provide academic, cultural and social support
for all of these students and assist them to succeed in their studies.
In 2008, 1522 Mäori Students enrolled at the University of Otago
with 300 of these students registering for the first time and 37 enrolled in their Doctorates.