The Ako Aotearoa Team at the Northern Regional Forum


Ako Aotearoa hosts its final 2024 Regional Forum in Hamilton

1 July 2024 Teaching strategies, Effective teaching, Research, Artificial intelligence (AI), Supporting staff, Strategic Leadership and Change

Ako Aotearoa hosted its third and final regional forum for 2024 on 21 June at the Zealong Tea Estate in Hamilton.

Ako Aotearoa was thrilled to bring the upper North Island education community together at the Northern Regional Forum, closing the forum series for 2024. Building upon the Southern and Central forums, this event provided educators with opportunities to connect and discover new ideas and information to enhance their teaching practices.

The sold-out forum saw over 100 attendees from various parts of the education sector. They enjoyed presentations and discussions from expert panelists and presenters from The University of Waikato, NZSE, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, The University of Auckland, and more.

The forum began with a captivating Huakitanga (opening) by Professor Tom and Dr. Robyn Roa, who shared many legends of how the Waikato region was named. This story set the tone for the day, as presenters connected cultural traditions with educational and technological advancements in the tertiary sector.

Dr. Ēnoka Murphy and Mel Wall, 2023 Te Whatu Kairangi awardees, were pivotal highlights of the day. Speaking about the practical applications Te Tiriti and Māori teaching strategies have within the tertiary environment in their presentations. The Impacts of AI & Indigenous Data Sovereignty Panel also became a quick high point at the forum. Phil Alexander-Crawford chaired panellists from The University of Waikato who spoke about the impact AI is having in the tertiary sector, and how indigenous nations like Aotearoa (New Zealand) are leading the research in this environment.

“I feel extremely privileged to collaborate with such exceptional tertiary educators. Learning and hearing about how technological innovation can pair with Māori and Pasifika groups was eye-opening" says Northern Hub Sector Services Manager (SSM) Ruth Peterson. “I have access to some spectacular Māori and Pasifika groups, and it's been fantastic to connect with and host these individuals. I feel honoured to have these people in my region.”

Ako Aotearoa sector services manager Ruth Peterson interviewing Dr Enoka Murphy at the northern regional forum. 

Ako Aotearoa sector services manager Ruth Peterson interviewing Dr Ēnoka Murphy at the northern regional forum.

Ako Aotearoa were also delighted to be sponsored by Hanga Aro Rau for this event and to celebrate the launch of the newly released TOHU app – designed to help Māori youth find potential career pathways and the STEMM subjects needed to get into that profession. Led by Naomi Manu, HERA and the Auraki Group, this career mapping tool incorporates Māori values and ngā atua (gods) that youth can align themselves with to better identify their strengths, skills, interests and match them to STEMM-related jobs.

The theme for the Northern Regional Forum was focused on 'Tūhono: Connecting Traditions and Futures in Tertiary Learning'. Presenters seamlessly connected traditional and cultural teaching methodologies with modern educational practices, enhancing the educator-learner relationship. Ruth Peterson emphasised the importance of this theme and praised the support she received leading up to the event.

“I am incredibly proud of the team behind me, they were always on top of things and were dedicated to the success of the Forum running smoothly”

We were also delighted to hear how the forum had a positive impact on its attendees:

“The calibre of the chosen speakers was exceptional. The way they engaged the audience, were able to think on their feet, embedded humour and passion, and shared relevant, helpful insights, was something special.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the day and some great sessions, especially enjoyed the Fijian speaker (Shailesh Lal). Nga mihi Ako Aotearoa”

Thank you to everyone who attended the Northern Regional Forum. Your support and contributions to the event have been invaluable, and we hope you felt inspired and were reminded of the importance of supporting all tertiary learners. We cannot wait to see you again at our future events, workshops and courses.

View more photos from the forum

View presentation slides from the forum (PDF, 7Mb)

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