Principle of whai wāhi

The principle of whai wāhi (participation) ensures that Māori are fully involved in all parts of New Zealand society.

In the context of the Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, it requires the University to ensure Māori representation in key decision-making bodies and the involvement of Māori across all parts of the University.

Application of the principle of participation (whai wāhi)

In applying the principle of participation (whai wāhi), the University commits to ensuring that new and existing roles, committees, working groups, and project teams include people who can represent relevant Māori interests and provide culturally sound advice. As per section 4.2.2(a) of the Equal Employment Opportunities Guidelines, this will ‘work to ensure Māori are well represented in positions of leadership and management, as well as other occupations across the University’. As per section 4.2.2(c) of the Equal Employment Opportunity Guidelines, it also means that the University has a commitment to ‘consult with Māori on aspects of governance and management, such as through Toihuarewa’. This requires that Māori are actively involved in all aspects of the learning and teaching, research, engagement, and development activities of the University. It also includes ensuring Māori representation in university processes and activities that impact on recruitment and retention of Māori academic and professional staff and students.

Māori advice

In order to apply the Principle of Participation and allow Māori advice to inform key decision-making, the University will ensure there is strong and effective Māori representation on Te Hiwa, the University's senior leadership team, and all key university boards, committees, working groups, and panels.

If Māori representation is not available, then meaningful consultation and collaboration with Māori is imperative and advice should be sought from the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori). Where an issue relates to student interests, Māori students’ associations across the campuses should be informed and included in the consultation or collaboration.

Māori student recruitment and retention

The University is committed to increasing the number of Māori staff and students to reflect the current demographics of Aotearoa New Zealand. This requires sufficient staffing levels for Māori recruitment and retention roles, targeted scholarship funding for Māori students, sufficient resourcing for Māori culturally responsive pathways into university study at all levels, and developing and maintaining relationships (whanaungatanga) with Māori students. Staff across the university can support these efforts by engaging with Māori communities during outreach and developing recruitment materials that are relevant to Māori audiences. Advice should be sought from the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) in the development of these materials.

Sustained visibility at significant Māori events (particularly those related to school children) is an important and credible recruitment strategy. The Māori Liaison Officer can provide dates for these events.

As noted in the Principle of Options (Kōwhiringa), Āwhina is the Māori student support team that provides culturally responsive mentoring, outreach and help for Māori students. A pan-university service, Āwhina staff are located on every campus, with their central hub at Te Herenga Waka marae. Āwhina staff also work with academic staff to help ensure Māori students remain engaged in their studies. For advice and support, staff should contact the Director of Āwhina.

Māori staff recruitment and retention

As with student recruitment and retention, effort needs to be made to increase the numbers of Māori academic staff in every faculty. Approaches to recruitment should include new Māori-focused roles where possible or facilitating postgraduate Māori students into an academic career pathway. The Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) can work with Human Resources managers to ensure that role descriptions and marketing channels are more likely to target Māori candidates.

Targeted Māori positions, whether for academic or professional roles, must recognise that Māori staff often have wider community and cultural responsibilities to fulfill. These cultural responsibilities are recognised in the current Academic Careers Framework under Hautūtanga, and this workload should be recognised in Professional staff role descriptions. Māori staff should be encouraged to participate in Māori cultural activities and practices across the University as part of their Māori professional development.