Southern Hub Manager Jennifer Leahy with artist Janet de Wagt


2024 Regional Forum series kicks off in Dunedin

28 March 2024 Educational outcomes, Supporting staff, Strategic Leadership and Change

Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub hosted our first 2024 Regional Forum last Friday in Ōtepoti Dunedin.

Building on our successful series in 2023, we were delighted to bring the South Island tertiary education community together once again for a day of valuable networking and professional learning.

Around 100 representatives from a range of tertiary education organisations attended and enjoyed a full day of presentations and panels on topics such as Te Tiriti o Waitangi, AI, Tapatoru, Pacific values, ACE and PTEs in the South, and more. It was also wonderful to hear from previous Te Whatu Kairangi/Tertiary Teaching Excellence awardees from the Otago area.

Thank you to The Tarn Group for sponsoring this event.

The Tarn Group representatives: Michael Grawe, Pathways Awarua (left) and Richard Fogarty (right)

The Tarn Group representatives: Michael Grawe, Pathways Awarua (left) and Richard Fogarty (right)

“It was a delight for me to host this year's Southern Regional Forum in Ōtepoti,” says Southern Hub Sector Services Manager Jennifer Leahy. “Connecting with numerous individuals from various sectors was a highlight for me as well as everyone’s active participation during the day.”

The theme for the 2024 Ako Aotearoa Regional Forums is ‘Tūhono: Connecting Traditions and Futures in Tertiary Learning’. This was developed from three key areas: cultivating excellent tertiary teaching, making links between teaching and learner success (Ōritetanga), and embracing Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

In the programme, Jennifer wanted to place extra emphasis on the kōrero and talanoa around these ideas and the presentation topics, to ensure that participants could share their thoughts, reflections, and ideas with each other.

“I believe that the Kōrero/Talanoa sessions allowed educators to reflect on how they can integrate the insights gained from Forum speakers into their own teaching practice, as well as learning from other participants about how they would implement different ideas and address challenges” says Jennifer.

“As Pale Sauni highlighted while chairing the Pasifika panel, talanoa offers an opportunity for ‘dialogue, unrestricted by time but enriched by relationships.’”

We were glad to receive the following comments from attendees on their ‘biggest takeaways’ from the Forum:

  • “[My biggest takeaway message from the day was] to engage in more structured reflective practice as an educator and support others to do so too.”
  • “We may be a very diverse sector but so much is in common!”
  • “[There is a] common theme of many of us wanting to work towards equitable outcomes for Māori learners.”
  • “There are amazing resources out there for tertiary educators, and amazing tertiary educators doing great work.”

“Huge thank you to Jennifer Leahy and the team for a great day at the Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub Forum today,” said one attendee. “Interesting, thought-provoking, and always a warm welcome.”

Thank you to everyone to attended the Forum and contributed to the discussions. Your ideas and feedback will continue to support us in delivering effective learning opportunities for the entire sector.


Check out the photos from the 2024 Southern Regional Forum here.

Southern Forum attendees participating in an 'energiser' activity

Southern Forum attendees participating in an 'energiser' activity

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