Project Details

A year-long project using an Oceanic methodology to investigate Māori and Pasifika student success and retention. A collaboration between University of Auckland and UNITEC.

Aims: 

The primary aim of the project was to examine existing practices and develop innovative ways to advance the success of Māori and Pasifika students in higher education.

Methodology: 

The project used an Oceanic methodology (also called the Vaka methodology), a methodology that prioritises and values indigenous knowledge. It will also support research fellows to regularly come together to share ideas and resources and gain knowledge from other ‘navigators’.

Team

the university of auckland

Dr Ema Wolfgramm-Foliaki

Co-principal investigator

University of Auckland
the university of auckland

Dr Hinekura Smith

Co-principal investigator

University of Auckland

Status

Completed

Funding

$307,123.00 (excl GST)

$130,000.00 National Project Fund
$177,123.00 University of Auckland

Key Findings

  • Higher Education in Aotearoa New Zealand requires a renewed and active commitment to increased Māori and Pasifika success. Such a conclusion is not new, yet it is important that it is reiterated here as little has changed in the past 20 years.

    What is new perhaps is the call for these initiatives to be Māori and Pasifika led, drawing on our knowledges, languages and ways of being. He Vaka Moana in this sense is a ‘new’ ‘old’ offering that seeks a way for us to work together in productive and self-sovereigning ways. For Māori and Pasifika led programmes that support Māori and Pasifika student success in higher education to be sustainable, there must be greater institutional commitment of time, workload and resources.
  • Māori and Pasifika staff in higher education are underrepresented and overworked, leaving little time to come together to talk, create, research and teach—to pikipiki hama—in meaningful and productive ways to support solutions within our individual, diverse, heterogenous cultural knowledges and spaces. Nurturing the vā, having time to wānanga and strengthen those relationships that bind us as people of the Moana are vital to addressing both the retention and work satisfaction of Māori and Pasifika staff and the success of Māori and Pasifika students in higher education.
  • A genuine commitment to shift attitudes and change hearts and minds takes time and is not a short-term fix. Instead, Māori and Pasifika led programmes to support Māori and Pasifika student success must be formalized and made sustainable by committing to professional and academic development on teaching learning and research to create transformational change.

Key Recommendations

  • An increased national and institutional commitment to Māori and Pasifika led programmes for Māori and Pasifika student success, including a significant increase of Māori and Pasifika staffing appointments and workload recognition of Māori and Pasifika contributions and research.
  • Recognise and support time for Māori and Pasifika staff (separately and together), to wānanga/meet/talanoa to create solutions from within Māori and Pasifika ways of being.
  • Formalize sustainable work roles, resourcing and research funds to match the policy rhetoric of Māori and Pasifika student success at institutional and national levels.

Report

He Vaka Moana: Navigating the Success of Māori and Pasifika Students in Higher Education

The final report from a two-year national funding project (NFP) that used a collaborative fellowship model, whereby ‘navigators’ of teaching and learning across faculties carried out interconnected and faculty-based research projects to examine existing practices and develop innovative ways to forward Māori and Pasifika student success.

  • 12 May 2021
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