Principle of kōwhiringa

The principle of kōwhiringa acknowledges Māori rights to pursue their own personal direction, whether that be in accordance with tikanga Māori or not.

In the context of the University, this means that Māori staff and students have a choice about whether or not to access Māori specific processes, services, or support within the University environment.

Application of the principle of options (kōwhiringa)

In applying the principle of options (kōwhiringa), the University commits to the establishment and ongoing maintenance of Māori processes and support services within the wider institutional environment. This ensures that Māori staff and students have culturally responsive options and can make choices appropriate to a range of Māori identities and lifestyles. It also means that the University’s policies and procedures will not make assumptions about any individual Māori person’s worldview, perspectives, background, experience or preferences. The kōwhiringa principle is about ensuring that Māori can be Māori, in whatever form that takes. It is also consistent with section 4.2.2 (b) of the Equal Employment Opportunities Guidelines, that seeks to ‘enable Māori to shape workplace culture, and affirm the capability, initiative and aspiration of Māori to make choices for themselves’.

Key University processes

The University is committed to ensuring students can engage in all key university systems and processes in te reo Māori and/or in accordance with tikanga Māori, including enrolment, recruitment, orientation, and student support services. With respect to enrolment, recruitment and orientation, the Māori Liaison Officer is available to support students in a culturally appropriate manner. The Āwhina team also leads the University’s Māori outreach activity and, once Māori students enrol, they provide culturally responsive mentoring and support. Other areas in the University have dedicated Māori staff to provide culturally responsive services for students including, but not limited to, Mauriora, Student Learning and the Library.

As noted in the principle of rangatiratanga section, the University is committed to te reo and mātauranga Māori. Thus, students have the choice to submit assessment, write their Master’s or doctoral theses and produce other academic outputs in te reo Māori. Furthermore, doctoral candidates can choose to hold their oral examination on Te Herenga Waka marae.

The University’s graduation ceremonies provide a range of options for students. All graduations at the Michael Fowler Centre incorporate tikanga Māori as part of the ceremonies. There is also an official graduation ceremony held at Te Herenga Waka marae each year in both May and December. Students have the option to choose either of these formal ceremonies and can nominate which ceremony they wish to attend when they register to graduate.

As noted in the principle of redress section, where issues of alleged misconduct arise, both the staff conduct policy and student conduct policy include the option to follow a Tikanga Māori process at Te Herenga Waka marae to seek resolution.

Membership of Māori groups

As noted in the principle of rangatiratanga section, Māori academic staff members are members of Toihuarewa and Māori professional staff members are members of Te Hauhiku. They also have the ability to opt-out of either group. Māori students have the option to become members of a range of Māori student groups including Ngāi Tauira (all Māori student), Ngā Taura Ūmanga (Māori Commerce Students ), Ngā Rangahautira (Māori Law Students), Te Hohaieti o te Reo Māori (Te Reo Māori Society), and MAI ki Pōneke (Māori and Indigenous doctoral students).