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Māori achievement to be recognised with events

Wednesday 4 September 2019 2:30pm

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A spotlight will shine on the University's Maori legacy during October, with a very special series of events.

A special collection of events are taking place in October to honour the University of Otago’s Māori legacy that acknowledges Māori students and staff.

Ngā Pou Whirinaki will bring together four separate events under the one banner of Māori achievement at the University. These events are collectively woven under the strands of Māori academic scholarship, staff and student support and success.

Te Takarangi will be holding two events on campus to celebrate Māori scholarship. The first event, Te Takarangi Pūkorero, is an inaugural public address celebrating Te Reo Rangatira.

The second event, Te Takarangi ki Ōtākou, is an exhibition celebrating Māori research at the University of Otago.

The bi-annual Hui Poutama will take place across two days to give Māori academic staff and postgraduate students the opportunity to network and showcase their research.

Ngā Pou Whirinaki will conclude with a celebration of the Māori Centre’s 30th anniversary.

Te Takarangi Pūkorero - 16 Oct, The Link

Te Takarangi Pūkorero, an inaugural address, will open Otago’s Ngā Pou Whirinaki events.

Featuring Professor Poia Rewi (Ngāti Manawa, Te Arawa and Tūhoe) Dean Te Tumu School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous studies and Dr Rawinia Higgins (Ngati Tūhoe) Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori), Victoria University of Wellington.

Both are widely acknowledged experts on the revitalisation of te reo Māori, and they will be discussing their vision for the future of Te Reo Rangatira in Aotearoa.

Directly following the address, the Te Takarangi ki Ōtākou exhibition will be launched.

Te Takarangi ki Ōtākou - 16 Oct to 8 Nov, The Link

Jacinta Ruru (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Ranginui) Jeanette Wikaira (Ngāti Pukenga, Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāpuhi) and Angela Wanhalla (Ngāi Tahu) have built on the success of their Te Takarangi exhibition launched at Parliament in October 2018. They have developed an inaugural Te Takarangi Pūkorero (public address) and a Te Takarangi ki Ōtākou exhibition celebrating and acknowledging the depth and significance of Māori scholarship at Otago.

The original Te Takarangi project was developed to mark Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga’s 15th anniversary as New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence and the Royal Society Te Apārangi’s society’s 150th anniversary.

“Our intention for Te Takarangi was to curate a list of 150 books that profiled and celebrated important Māori leaders, thinkers and scholars of our time from the first books published in the early 1820s through to current Māori scholars, researchers and writers who are claiming a space and a voice in the research environment of Aotearoa,” Professor Ruru says.

The origins of Te Takarangi lay in the curation of 150 Māori authored non-fiction books spanning 202 years of publication.

“We are really proud to bring our original Te Takarangi exhibition to Otago. It is a beautifully crafted taonga made by Ngāti Maniapoto artist Len Hetet that features all 150 books, supported by several colourful themed posters and complemented with the design of Otago specific storyboards that connect Otago strongly to many of these books,” Dr Wanhalla says.

The legacy of Māori research scholarship goes back to the first Māori graduate Tā Te Rangihiroa (Sir Peter Buck) who had an extraordinary scholarly career and who continues to be an inspiration for Māori researchers at Otago. The Ōtākou exhibition will profile important Otago Māori research and researchers who are making an impact in Aotearoa and beyond.

The exhibition will also celebrate champions of Māori research at Otago, including the Hocken Library, whose significant Māori collections have provided fertile research grounds for the development of Māori scholarship.

Professor Ruru, Ms Wikaira and Dr Wanhalla hope that Te Takarangi provokes and challenges as much as it acknowledges and celebrates.

“As well as a celebration we are also asking the wider University community to critically consider the significant role that Māori have always played in research and scholarship in Aotearoa,” Ms Wikaira says.

“Our names might not have always appeared on the covers of books, but we were there. In the past we were the researched. Now we have come off those pages and we are writing and researching and publishing and collaborating with our communities to tell our stories.

“Te Takarangi is a story of Māori scholarship, we were there when the first ever Māori book was produced in 1815 and we are still here now, claiming a voice and space in the academy.”

Hui Poutama - 16 to 17 Oct, Barclay Theatre, Otago Museum

The third strand within Ngā Pou Whirinaki is Hui Poutama, a bi-annual research symposium celebrating Māori academic achievement. Held over two days at the Barclay Theatre, the hui aims to help Māori academic leaders network and understand situations taking place across universities throughout New Zealand.

Poutama Māori co-chair Dr Diane Ruwhiu says the hui will give Otago’s Māori academic staff and postgraduate students the chance to show their research with peers and the wider Dunedin community.

“In recognition of the University's 150th celebrations, the theme for 2019 is about enduring legacy in recognition of the whakapapa of Māori scholarship at Otago,” she says.

“That is, acknowledging the work of those who have come before us as we work together and with our communities to build pathways of resilience and transformation that will guide us into the future.”

The symposium, which is open to the public, is co-ordinated by Te Poutama Māori, the University of Otago’s collective representative body of Māori academic staff.
Dr Ruwhiu says the hui goes beyond showcasing research.

The symposium is one of many forums through which Māori staff and students at Otago embody whanaungatanga, wherein we nurture and build our relationships together within the wider University community.

Te Huka Mātauraka 30th celebration - 18 Oct, Union Hall

Ngā Pou Whirinaki will culminate with a 30th anniversary dinner of Te Huka Mātauraka, the University’s Māori Centre.

Te Huka Mātauraka THM (Māori Centre) is the main Pou Whirinaki within the University of Otago and has been supporting Māori students to succeed using a kaupapa Māori approach for 30 years. The dinner will celebrate the importance of the Māori model of support that acknowledges the critical importance of Māori student success and achievement.

The celebrations will also be used to acknowledge the sheer hard work and commitment of Māori staff, Maori students' resilience and determination to succeed, and the long-term support and relationships the Centre has with the wider Māori community both locally and nationally. This comes at a time when Māori student numbers have increased significantly to more than 2200 in 2019.

Vicky Totoro, one of Te Huka Mātauraka’s senior counsellors, says the model is critical to nurture and support tauira (students) on their journeys at Otago.

“Although academic study is a very westernised and individualised pursuit, Māori students are not studying at Otago as individuals,” she says.

“The students stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before them and they are supported by their whānau to succeed and the Māori Centre’s model of support provides students with the same whānau based philosophy.”

Many of the Māori students who come to Otago, come with aspirations to succeed and for many they are fulfilling aspirations their whānau have for them to be lawyers or doctors or neuroscientists. It is this understanding of the wider whānau that surrounds Māori students that the Māori Centre brings to every interaction they have with each student.
Centre manager Pearl Matahiki says the Centre is looking forward to the big event.

“It’s a chance to bring together our wider whanau who have all made the Māori Centre the success that it is today. There are many who have contributed and continue to contribute to the Māori Centre.

“There are past staff, past students, past tutors, local community and mana whenua who have all played a vital part in weaving together the many threads that bind our Te Huka Mātauraka kaupapa and have kept it strong for 30 years.”

The dinner will coincide with the launch of a special commemorative book acknowledging the efforts of current and former Māori Centre staff members since it opened in 1989.