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Celebrating ten years of Māori academic achievement

12 August 2015 | media

University Vice-Chancellors have congratulated Te Kāhui Amokura on their 10th anniversary of working to lift Māori success in our universities.

Te Kāhui Amokura, which is Universities New Zealand’s Committee on Māori, provides Vice-Chancellors strategic advice on a range of issues to improve outcomes for Māori university students, Māori university staff and Māori research and scholarship.

Chair of Universities New Zealand, Professor Harlene Hayne who is also Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago says, “Ten years ago this month, Vice-Chancellors and Māori academics sat down together to create Te Kāhui Amokura.  That passion and commitment around that table still lives on today.

“I sincerely congratulate former and current members of Te Kāhui Amokura on their 10thanniversary.  We are very fortunate indeed to have benefited from the wisdom, calibre and commitment of the academics who have been part of Te Kāhui Amokura during this time.” 

Vice-Chancellors look to Te Kāhui Amokura for strategic advice across many issues, but especially to promote Māori leadership within the New Zealand’s universities, and academic advancement for Māori students and staff.  Similarly, Chancellors in their governance roles are increasingly looking to them for advice and support to work with local iwi to strengthen relationships, and help lift outcomes for Māori. 

Professor Harlene Hayne says, “This is important work. I know the Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors are committed to ensuring Māori students succeed.  We are also committed to developing Māori academic staff, providing them with the support and facilities they need to share their knowledge, to do research that makes a difference, and achieve leadership roles.

“We know that among our students and staff there are and will be, Māoridom’s leaders and thinkers who will continue to drive change to improve outcomes for Māori – continuing the work of Sir Apirana Ngata – the first Māori graduate, and many others.”

Professor Hayne says while much has been achieved there is still more to be done.  “A key challenge continues to be lifting numbers of Māori entering academia.  This isn’t an issue for universities alone.  It reaches back into secondary schools, where only about a third of Māori students achieve University Entrance.  This remains the major constraint on success for Māori.  It limits the numbers of young Māori who can enter degree studies, whom we can encourage into post-graduate studies, and attract into academic and leadership roles within universities.”

“One of Te Kāhui Amokura’s key achievements specifically addressed this issue, which was the establishment of the MANU AO academy under the chairmanship of Sir Mason Durie,” says Professor Hayne.

MANU AO was the national inter-university Māori Academy established to promote academic leadership and scholarship, and professional advancement, although its practices now form an integral part of universities’ work programmes.  A legacy publication project has ensured the learnings and gains have not been lost.  To mark the anniversary, Te Kāhui Amokura will tomorrow launch the last of the four publications, Fire that kindles hearts, which features ten Māori academics.

Professor Hayne says Te Kāhui Amokura has served universities, academic colleagues, the aspirations of the government and their communities, well.


- Universities New Zealand is also known as the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, is the peak body for New Zealand’s eight universities.

- “Fire that kindles hearts: ten Māori scholars” has been edited by Dr Selywn Katene, Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori, Massey University and published by Steele Roberts.  The authors are Ranginui Walker, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Sir Mason Durie, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Graham Smith, Taiarahia Black, Ngapare Hopa, Wally Penetito, Margie Maaka, and Atholl Anderson.

-  MANU AO was supported by all eight universities under the umbrella of Universities New Zealand - Te Pōkai Tara, funded for 3 years by the Tertiary Education Commission, and hosted by Massey University.  It brought Māori university academics together from around New Zealand, through its leadership courses, symposia, lectures and other initiatives. These practices now form an integral part of universities’ work programmes.

- The anniversary is being celebrated at an event in Parliament on Thursday 13 August, where the book will also be launched.