Building a digital whare to support Māori learning anytime, anywhere

August 17, 2020

An article published by Microsoft New Zealand News Centre.

Te Wānanga o Raukawa, New Zealand’s first higher learning institution steeped in Māori protocols and values, is a pioneer in its field. With the help of technology solutions provider Intergen and a range of Microsoft technologies, it’s also at the forefront of digital education. Their partnership has transformed the institution’s entire operations and avenues to interact with students, lighting the path for other institutions to break down the barriers to learning and create a truly equal experience for on-campus and at-home students to learn in their own space, place, time and pace.

The first tertiary institution of its kind, Te Wānanga o Raukawa (TWoR), was born from a confederation of three iwi (tribes) with a history of joint ventures. Since the early 1970s, the founding iwi, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa and Te Ātiawa, have been on a mission to reclaim and grow mātauranga (knowledge of all things) Māori.

At the time, it was visionary – establishing a wānanga for Māori to further education, founded on the key principles that te reo Māori is a taonga (treasure), people are its wealth, the marae is their principal home, and self-determination is essential. In 1981, they launched with just two students. Since then the vision has only grown, to enable education for Māori which will build a healthy and wealthy economy through its people.

Around 40 years on, there are more than 5,000 students, but the demographic has changed radically from previous decades. Many of them are “mature students”, with an average age of 39, and in recent years part-time numbers have increased exponentially.

Feedback to the TWoR leaders was that the need to care for families impeded students’ ability to stick to regimented daily study, course loads were too heavy in the existing format, students had difficulty attending classes in person given they lived all over Aotearoa, and balancing full-time work with study was also an issue. The Wānanga knew it had to adapt delivery to suit.

Oriwia Raureti, Pou Whakahaere (Manager) at Te Wānanga o Raukawa, explains: “The student has chosen us. We believe in utu, which is reciprocity. If we receive an enrolment, we have to do everything in our power to make sure they are successful.”

To read the rest of the story here.

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