Principle of rite tahi
The principle of rite tahi (equality) focuses on providing an environment that supports equitable Māori outcomes.
In the context of the University, it means actively working towards achieving equitable outcomes for Māori students and staff.
Application of the principle of equality (rite tahi)
In applying the principle of equality (rite tahi), the University commits to prioritising, reviewing, and resourcing activity that produces improved outcomes for Māori students and staff in relation to recruitment, retention, and achievement. As per section 4.2.2(d) of the Equal Employment Opportunities Guidelines, this will further enable the University to ‘recognise the employment requirements of Māori, which includes the design of EEO initiatives’. It also aligns with the Equity Diversity and Inclusion Framework (EDI), which focuses on the attraction and recruitment, participation, influence, engagement, and retention of Māori students and Māori staff.
Reviewing of Māori equity initiatives
A number of processes contribute to ensuring regular review of Māori equity initiatives. The 2017 Review of Māori and Pasifika Student Interventions canvased a range of faculty-based and university-wide equity activities.
Other regular monitoring of Māori equity initiatives occurs through the implementation of the EDI, with its focus on the inclusion of Māori students and Māori staff. A university-wide EDI Steering Group includes Māori student and staff representation, and meets regularly to monitor progress and identify priorities.
The seven-yearly cycle of Academic Programme Reviews requires staff and students to consider how specific academic programmes support the development of Māori scholarship and incorporate Māori perspectives in their learning goals, course content, and support for learning. Ultimately, they ensure that all academic programmes are held accountable for improving Māori outcomes.
The Academic Quality Agency provides external academic quality assurance for all New Zealand universities via a regular cycle of audits. The AQA also supports quality enhancement activities that assist universities to improve student engagement, academic experience and learning outcomes. This University’s Cycle Six academic audit, scheduled for 2022, has a specific focus on Māori students. The Cycle Six Enhancement Theme also had a specific focus on 'access, outcomes and opportunity for Māori students and for Pasifika students'.
Resourcing of equity activity
Achieving equitable outcomes for Māori depends, in part, on how much resourcing is provided. Significant university resource is currently put into Māori-specific student and staff recruitment and retention activities and affirmative action. Dedicated equity funding provided by the Tertiary Education Commission primarily goes towards funding the pan-university Māori student support team, Āwhina.
As an institution, the University also needs to actively ensure that Māori students receive equivalent remuneration to their non-Māori peers when participating in research, focus groups, or wider Te Herenga Waka marketing and branding exercises. In addition, the University should ensure that Māori students have the same opportunity as non-Māori to access paid university employment such as mentoring work and tutoring.
Celebrating Māori success
Not only is it important that the University actively works towards achieving equitable Māori outcomes, that achievement should also be celebrated. Sections of the university website profile Māori student and staff achievement, as do many of the University’s other communication channels. The marae graduation ceremonies are another way that Māori academic achievement is celebrated publicly. However, more could still be done and staff are encouraged to create and take opportunities to tell the world about Māori success.