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Ancestry Verification Procedures for Māori and Pacific Students

Category Administration and Management
Type Procedure
Approved by Vice-Chancellor
Date Procedure Took Effect 12 March 2018
Last Approved Revision
Sponsor Director, Office of Māori Development
Director, Pacific Development
Responsible Officer Manager, Policy and Compliance
Review Date 12 March 2020

Purpose

The purpose of these Procedures is to detail University processes for verifying Māori or Pacific ancestry where such verification is required for special admission into restricted programmes, access to particular scholarships, or any other University initiatives for students which necessitate verification of ancestry.

Organisational Scope

University-wide.

Definitions

Ancestry A person’s family descent by birth.
Ethnicity The ethnic group with which a person identifies or to which they feel they belong. Ethnicity is a self-identified measure of cultural affiliation.
eVision The University’s student management system.
Indigenous peoples Inhabitants of lands who have historical continuity with pre-colonial and/or pre-settler societies.
Iwi registration documentation Official documentation confirming registration with an Iwi.
Pacific peoples For University purposes the indigenous peoples of the following 21 Pacific countries:
  • American Samoa
  • Cook Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • Hawai’i
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • New Caledonia
  • Niue
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Rapanui (Easter Island)
  • Rotuma
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tahiti / French Polynesia
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu
  • Wallis and Futuna

Policy Content


1. General principles

(a) Verification is not required in relation to ethnicity information provided to the University (e.g. self-identification of ethnic affiliation at enrolment).

(b) The University may require verification of ancestry where a provision, programme admission pathway, scholarship or other benefit is targeted at a particular group (e.g. Māori or indigenous Pacific Peoples) on the basis of ancestry.

(c) The University reserves the right to determine which provisions, programme admission pathways, scholarships or other benefits shall require verification of ancestry, provided that where such verification is required, this shall be a consistent requirement for all students to whom the benefit applies.

(d) No student shall be required to provide verification of ancestry, but access to provisions, programme admission pathways, scholarships or other benefits identified under clause 1(c) shall be dependent on verification of ancestry.

(e) Verification of ancestry in relation to any University process will be recorded in eVision, and will serve as confirmation of ancestry for any subsequent University purposes.

2. Verification of Māori Ancestry

(a) Iwi registration documentation is the primary and preferred method of Māori ancestry verification and shall be deemed to confirm ancestry.

(b) A student who cannot provide Iwi registration documentation shall be required to provide a completed Whakapapa Endorsement Form endorsed by an appropriate independent party (the parents, siblings or spouse of an applicant may not provide endorsement).

(c) Assessment of ancestry shall be carried out under the authority of the Director, Māori Development, who may delegate the power to confirm Māori ancestry to appropriately qualified staff.

(d) For any particular case, where a staff member with delegated authority under clause 2(c) cannot confirm Māori ancestry on the basis of a student’s provided documentation or believes ancestry is otherwise contestable, they must refer the matter to the Director, Māori Development, who will make a final decision.

3. Verification of Indigenous Pacific Ancestry

(a) Where possible, students should provide verified official documentation, such as birth certificate(s), passport(s), citizenship papers, land title documents and/or death registrations, showing a traceable link to the student’s indigenous Pacific ancestry.

(b) Where verified official documentation cannot be provided or demonstrates no clear link to indigenous Pacific ancestry, endorsement of the student’s ancestry from an appropriate leader of a relevant Pacific Islands community group, such as a church minister, chief or elder, should be provided using the prescribed Indigenous Pacific Ancestry Endorsement Form. The person providing the endorsement must not be a close relative of the applicant.

(c) Staff involved in the administration of processes which include verification of indigenous Pacific ancestry may confirm ancestry on the basis of documentation and/or endorsement provided under clauses 3(a) and (b). However, where there is doubt over the verification of ancestry, staff should refer the case to the Pacific Ancestry Verification Committee for a decision.

(d) The Pacific Verification Ancestry Committee shall comprise:

i. the Director, Pacific Development (Chair)

ii. the Associate Dean (Pacific) from each Academic Division

iii. the Manager, Pacific Islands Centre, and

iv. the Pacific Community Liaison Officer.

Additional members may be co-opted as required to ensure diverse representation of specific Island nations on the Committee.

(e) The Pacific Verification Ancestry Committee shall determine whether ancestry may be deemed to be verified in all cases:

i. in which neither verified official documentation nor community group leader endorsement can be provided, and/or

ii. which are referred to it under clause 3(c).

(f) The Pacific Verification Ancestry Committee shall schedule meetings with reference to the timing of administrative processes likely to require assessment of indigenous Pacific ancestry (e.g. scholarship selection, programme admission).

(g) Where an assessment is necessary between scheduled meetings, a decision on whether ancestry can be verified may be made by the Chair (or their nominee) and at least two other members of the Committee, one of whom should preferably have knowledge of the student’s Pacific community. Any decisions made outside of normal meeting times shall be reported and recorded at the next scheduled meeting of the Committee.

Related Policies, Procedures and Forms

Contact for Further Information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact the Manager, Policy and Compliance on policycompliance@otago.ac.nz