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Hītori / History

Nō te tau 1988/89 ka hua mai ko Te Huka Mātauraka i runga i ngā whakapae o tētahi rīpoata me ngā puna pūtea ka tukuna e te kāwana. Nā ngā kaimahi Māori, ngā tauira Māori, Te Amorangi o te Kete Aronui me ngā kaimahi o te Tari Rēhita tēnei whakaaro nui i whakatinanatia.

The University of Otago Māori Centre was initiated in 1988/89 as a direct result of the Watts Report and equity funding released by government. Māori staff, students, AVC Humanities and the Registrar at that time created this development. It was from these groups that the Māori Centre was developed, with senior management also contributing to the decision. Firstly as a support mechanism for Māori students that had to be easily identifiable and a place where outside interest (Māori community) could meet the University.

The Māori 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 Māori Centre was under the management of Registry and coordinated by one staff member, whom worked closely with the Māori Liaison Officer who was based in Registry and the staff of Māori Studies. The Māori 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 Māori Centre allocated two rooms to the current Te Kohanga Reo o Araiteuru at 515 Castle Street North.

In June 1991, the Māori Centre moved to 519 Castle Street North, with the Centre’s primary aim being to support first year students with their studies, the University environment, and provided examination technique workshops, essay writing and tutorials. That year 515 Castle Street became the whare for Te Kohanga Reo o Araiteuru.

The Māori 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 Māori 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 Māori 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 Māori Centre; the Treaty of Waitangi review upon the University Charter, the Māori pre-graduation celebrations and a competition to design a Māori 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 Māori Liaison Officer and Centre Supervisor resigned leaving the Centre to be co-ordinated by the Tutorial Coordinator and Office Administrator.
Later that year the Māori Centre was managed by the department of Māori Studies. This continued until 1999 when the Māori Centre was placed under the management of the Director of Student Support Services. Later that year the Māori 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.
There are five permanent staff at the Centre; Manager, Office Administrator, Māori Community Liaison Officer, Māori Student Support Coordinator and Māori 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 on site.

In 2006 the Centre had an administrative review which gave the Centre a favourable review including several recommendations for the Centre and University future plans

In 2007, 1491 Māori Students enrolled at the University of Otago with 350 of these students registering for the first time. The Māori 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 Māori Students enrolled at the University of Otago with 300 of these students registering for the first time and 37 enrolled in their Doctorates.

In 2009, the Centre employed an additional Counsellor so that there would be 2 counsellors job sharing a full-time role and the Centre focus towards re-structuring the Turaka Hou/ Mentoring Coordinator position to become a permanent part-time position.. The Centre also celebrated 21 years of continued Māori support at the University of Otago

In 2010, the Centre employed a permanent part-time staff member to coordinate the Orientation and Mentoring programme taking the staff role to 7 employees. The Centre also recognised immediate action was required to grow the centre, solve issues of tutorial space and the dilapidated whare of Te Roopu Māori . 1700 Māori students enrolled at the University of Otago.

In 2011, the Centre was successful with their submission to obtain the building situated at 523 Castle St North that would solve the issues of additional tutorial space, increase student use, implement a computer suite and provide an appropriate space for Te Roopu Māori. The Memorandum of Understanding was established between the Māori Centre, Student Services Director and Te Roopu Māori which meant new beginnings and continued collegiality towards the common goal of Māori student achievement. The Centre now occupies three whare at the end of Castle St North with Te Roopu Māori situated in 523 Castle Street North and working very closely with the Centre staff.

The Māori Centre was also under review again with very favourable outcomes including several recommendations to further expand the Centre as māori achievement was at an all-time high.

In 2012, the Centre programmes continued to see an increase of student attendance and student use from Orientation week through to Māori graduation. The University in conjunction with Otago Polytechnic; Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (Te Tai Tonga) co-hosted a successful 2012 Te Toi Tauira mo te Matariki Hui a tau with Centre staff assisting the coordination of the above. The Centre and University also assisted Te Roopu Māori host a successful 2012 National Te Huinga. The Centre is now buzzing with Māori students and 515, 519 & 523 Castle Street North is now the hub of Māori Students on Campus. “Whānau on Campus”.