Last week Te Uepū Māori members held their 12th Hui-ā-Motu and found themselves ‘navigating changing spaces’ from a kanohi ki te kanohi Hui to a Zui.

Hui-ā-Motu provides Te Uepū members with an opportunity to connect with hoa mahi from across Aotearoa, reflect on the year that has been, plan for the future, and discuss a broad range of kaupapa impacting Māori from a distinctly Māori perspective. In keeping with this kaupapa, the 2020 theme was “Ekea Ngā Kauhanga Kō Āwhiowhio – Navigating Changing Spaces”, recognising the colossal transformation of our hapori, and encouraging Hui participants to reflect on events in our recent past to acknowledge, learn, and co-create a different future for our tamariki and mokopuna.

Hui-ā-Motu saw a number of guest speakers providing insight from tertiary education and indigenous viewpoints. Dr Hana O’Regan (CORE Education Tumu Whakarae) provided a Kāi Tahu perspective on the tertiary landscape, while Michelle Purdy, AEU Federal TAFE President and Dr Sharlene Leroy-Dyer, NTEU Chair Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Policy Committee each presented, respectively, on the Australian TAFE and University sectors through an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander lens.

Of particular relevance to the current moment in tertiary education in Aotearoa was the statement of tautoko from members at Hui-ā-Motu the statement which reads,

“We tautoko those who speak up about racism in the tertiary sector – wherever this occurs – and the initiative of an independent review regarding institutional racism at Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato. Tū kotahi tātou!”

Also of particular relevance was the joint presentation by NZIST CEO Stephen Town, Council Chair Murray Strong, and Phil Alexandra-Crawford who has been seconded to NZIST from NorthTec to implement the Tiriti Excellence Framework. In response to the NZIST presentation, Te Uepū members stressed the ongoing importance of co-design in ensuring the success of the new Framework, and the institute generally. With the amalgamation of vocational education and training providers under the one banner, NZIST will have the largest number of tauira Māori of any of the country’s tertairy education institutes. It’s therefore crucial that the voice of tauira Māori, kaimahi, hapū, iwi, and hapori are represented at all levels, and that participation and cultural safety is supported and resourced.

TEU Te Pou Tuarā Lee Cooper thanked the guests and participants from across the motu, and says the Hui was a success despite the Covid-19 restrictions,

“Adapting from a three-day kanohi ki te kanohi Hui to a Zui in 48 hours was a challenge turned opportunity. Nothing can beat meeting ā-kanohi, but the Hui nevertheless provided an opportunity for connection and reflection, and this was evident in the high level of engagement from our members over the two days”.

Te Uepū Māori members will be provided further opportunities to gather ā-kanohi over several Hui-ā-Rohe in 2021 prior to the TEU conference in May.