The TEU and its national rūnanga, Te Toi Ahurangi, welcome the announcement Māori will be included from the outset, as key partners in the next stages of the Reform of Vocational Education process, with the creation of Te Taumata Aronui – a Māori-Crown tertiary education advisory group.

The new institute promises to have governance that reflects the Māori-Crown partnership and promotes national collaboration and leadership with local solutions to regional issues, with a responsibility to prioritise Māori learners.

TEU Te Tumu Arataki - Māori vice-president, Hūhana Wātene, and Te Mana Ākonga Tumuaki - President, Mamaeroa Merito say key to the success of Te Taumata Aronui, is its impact under the new one institution system, and the success of tauira Māori, kaimahi Māori, iwi and hapori Māori, will be ensuring direct lines of meaningful communication between all groups included in the new governance structure.

“Our hope is that the new governance structure ensures direct lines of communication between Te Taumata Aronui, the Ministry of Education, the Tertiary Education Commission, the new Transition Board and management structure. Clear lines of communication will ensure the gains made by Māori through the consultation process are not lost, and that the Māori-Crown partnership is not only upheld and enhanced, but embedded” Hūhana said.

Announcements made today also include a review of funding rates and the co-design of the one institution with Wānanga of a new funding system for te reo Māori and mātauranga Māori.  TEU Te Pou Tuarā , Lee Cooper welcomes this review and the demarcation and honouring of both te reo Māori and mātauranga Māori, but says the co-design of the new system should be an all-of-sector process.

“Wānanga play an integral role in the protection and revitalisation of te reo Māori and mātauranga Māori, but we mustn’t exclude universities from the process. The government has stated the new funding rates resulting from the review will be applied to delivery across the entire system, not just to the one institution and Wānanga, therefore everyone needs to be involved”.

Both Wātene and Cooper say TEU Māori members have expressed the need for local culture to be maintained and respected under the new, reformed structure of tertiary education. “A charter with an enduring commitment to strong regional campuses must also ensure an enduring commitment to regions in governance and representation. This must extend to the importance placed on the different mita and tikanga of iwi in which the polytechnics are located, and ensuring this is not lost at a local level under a coordinated national system”.

Ultimately, Te Mana Ākonga Tumuaki Mamaeroa Merito says, there is still much work ahead in achieving equity in education in New Zealand, and in honouring the relationship expressed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi, “It’s great that Te Taumata Aronui is being formed to prioritise the Māori learner in our tertiary education system, but key to the success of our Māori learners is increased numbers in Māori staffing at all levels. That needs to be priority. We can’t talk about Māori learners in isolation without also talking about Māori staff - recruiters, support services, lecturers, and those preparing Māori learners for their transition to further education or work”.