A new program has been launched at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, to increase the number of indigenous students studying abroad and to connect them with members of first nations in their respective host countries. The University, which lies on New Zealand’s South Island, hopes to see an increase of Māori students from their University leaving to study abroad in Australia, Canada, and the U.S., and in return, an increase of indigenous students from those respective countries.
The program was founded by director of the University of Otago’s Māori Development Office, Tuari Potiki. “There weren’t many Māori taking advantage of international mobility opportunities, and we wanted to know why that was. For a long, long time these sorts of opportunities were really only available to an elite and select few.” he told the PIE News, adding that many barriers including financial ones were thwarting the number of Māori students taking advantage of study abroad opportunities.
The program aims to be a learning experience for indigenous participants to engage with cultures of the first nations in their host countries, and to learn about their traditions, languages, and history, and to contribute in community-based relationships. The program is set to eventually expand to different countries, including Universities in Taiwan and South America.
The exchange program is in line with University of Otago’s Māori Strategic Framework 2022, which laid out six goals in order for the University to engage with iwi and Māori, to deepen the University’s commitment to achieving equitable Māori participation and success rates in tertiary education, to champion an environment in which scholarship and partnership will flourish to advance Māori development aspirations, and to set and pursue ambitious goals around embedding mātauranga
Māori within the University’s core functions. The Strategic Framework, which was first introduced in 2007, aims to use the following goals to achieve more Māori engagement:
- Leadership and Partnership: To demonstrate strong, accountable leadership which contributes to whanau, hapu, and iwi development.
- Māori Research: To undertake research that is transformative and beneficial for Māori communities, including research that increases understanding of te ao Māori and matauranga Māori, and supports the University’s commitment to excellence in research.
- Quality Programmes and Teaching: To create and enhance exemplary learning and teaching environments which allow staff and students to engage capably with te ao Māori and matauranga Māori through the provision of outstanding and innovative degree and support programs, and excellence in teaching.
- Te Reo and Tikanga Māori: To increase the use of te reo and tikanga Māori (Māori language and cultural practices) across each level of the University.
- Māori Student Success: To increase Māori student success at Otago by providing an environment in which Māori students are supported to thrive and succeed as Māori.
- Māori Staff Growth and Development: To increase the number of Māori staff at the University of Otago and support their professional and cultural development.
The PIE News https://thepienews.com/news/uni-otago-launches-indigenous-exchange-program/
University of Otago https://www.otago.ac.nz/maori/otago667421.pdf