From the conference floor and beyond

Posted By TEU on May 10, 2019 | 0 comments


TEU’s annual conference was two days of mahi, debate, fun, and planning for
130 TEU members and the staff who support them. So what was big on the
conference floor?

There was plenty of korero around the Tertiary Education Strategy with five
Ministry of Education officials present to hear what TEU members want in
the next strategy. In one workshop Zac Roberts, University of Auckland,
kicked off the conversations demanding that tertiary education study be
accessible to everyone who wants to undertake it. This vision of free and
accessible education was echoed by the Minister of Education in his speech
and received rousing applause from delegates.

Inclusiveness was a key theme across conference sessions and remits. This
was reflected in TEU inviting student association representatives to
conference. Both staff and students at conference agreed that mental health
issues need greater focus.The student’s shared a video made to support those with
 mental health issues: “They say living with depression is like walking through mud,
so we chuck on our gumboots to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters,
whānau and friends struggling with mental health issues every day.”

TEU member Vicky Young focused her comments on the conversations had at
conference and the speech by the Minister of Education: “I’ve just arrived
home after three days of representing Māori at the TEU conference, and
having important discussions on education. Hon. Chris Hipkins , the
Minister of Education was engaged with us, and listened. I see hope.” If
you missed the Minister’s speech you can still tune in.

Much of the hope at the TEU conference centred on the memberships’ ability
to be visionary. Industrial and Professional Vice President, George
Tongariro was pleased that conference was future focused: “Unionism at its
best highlights what we need in a future tertiary education sector.”

Many of the conversations were around ensuring staff and student voice in
decision-making – be it in our institutions or with the government. As Ali
Leota from the Pasifika Student Assocaiton put it: “If you’re not at the
table you’re on the menu.”

And as Jill Millburn from Ara Aoraki says it was an “amazing conference.
Going back more positive and with more tools to make a difference and have
a voice.”

TEU’s Māori vice president Susan Watene reflected the feeling of many
conference attendees in her final social media post: “Home from conference
tired but also invigorated. Great kaupapa being with like-minded TEU
members.”

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