Maori and Pacific students embark on university life with new scholarship


The ākonga (students), all aged 17 or 18, participate in Takere, a scholarship that includes a five-week “transition academy” at a Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | Residence of the University of Canterbury.

The residency phase ends tomorrow, but Takere students will continue to receive support throughout the academic year. Over the past few weeks, the group has taken a new first-year course and participated in workshops, lectures and a day trip to Akaroa aimed at deepening the students’ understanding of Maori pre- and post-colonial history and the Peaceful.

University of Canterbury Kaihautū Taunaki Kaupapa | Director – Projects and Innovation Jeanine Tamati Elliffe (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Te Atiawa) says Takere, which was launched as a pilot program in January 2021 with funding from the Higher Education Commission (TEC), offers a “scaffolded approach to learning “.

“This kaupapa aims to academically prepare students for graduate school, while providing them with opportunities to navigate university systems and build relationships with UC whānau before they begin college. Takere provides them with tools to ensure their success here at UC as Maori and Pacific students,” she says.

Takere student Wairaamia Taratoa-Bannister, 18 (Kāti Māmoe, Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Raukawa) is from Ōnuku on the Horomaka Banks peninsula and learned in a kura kaupapa Māori environment before moving to Cashmere High School and become a director last year. “Being in a group with Pacific students and being exposed to their world was really good for me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I really enjoyed that,” she says.

Wairaamia, who appeared on the University of Canterbury show believe you can campaign last year, says Takere’s activities and meeting with lecturers made her feel comfortable with the courses she took at UC.

“Living down the hall with 49 other students like me has given me a boost and I feel really confident to start university. It’s an opportunity to bond before I start studying and to have familiar faces around you.

Eseta-Claire Navunisaravi, 18, left Fiji for Christchurch two years ago. She says the Takere group became close in just a few weeks. “Being around people who are like me and who know who I am and who accept who I am is a really big highlight for me. It’s also been a big help in managing my time and knowing what services are available on campus. It’s a good base.”

Eseta-Claire plans to study political science and wants to be involved in shaping future policies.

Meshach Faafoe, 18, who is Samoan, says the support he got from Takere has made a big difference. “Being with other Maori and Pacific students, I really learned a lot from that. We received a lot of support to adapt to a new environment.

The Haeata Community Campus graduate, who will study social work at UC, is the first in his immediate family to go to college and Tamati-Elliffe says many of the other group members are “first to whānau” students. “.

“It’s really important that they get the best learning foundation we can provide. In addition to being ahead of the game academically, our approach is holistic, using our cultural foundations as the platform to deliver workshops on budgeting, health and wellness, goal setting, success and building interpersonal skills.

Catherine Moran, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Canterbury, said the Takere scheme was part of the university’s commitment to being more inclusive.

“We saw in last year’s Takere cohort how the program builds a sense of community, builds on cultural and community connections, and provides opportunities for students to connect with Maori and Pacific scholars and other staff on campus.”

The scholarship has been extended this year to include more students, a longer residential transition academy program, and additional accommodation support throughout the academic year for those who choose to stay in the new hall. CPU hosting, Tupuānuku.

Takere students receive ongoing support throughout their first year of study from kaiurungi (counsellors) and kaitaki (student mentors). They will also have access to tutors and other opportunities such as participation in the UC Māori Leadership Program, Paiciand the Pasifika Mentorship Program.

Based on a story of navigation and exploration, the name Takere recognizes the whakataukī “E kore e ngaro, he takere waka nui – we will never be lost; we are the hull of a great canoe”. Students are given provisions to store in the hull (takere) of their waka (voyaging vessel), which allows them to be better prepared for their academic journeys.

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