Tuākana is a University-wide mentoring and tutoring programme for Māori and Pacific students. Based on the concept of older siblings (or Tuākana) supporting younger ones, Tuākana helps students transition to University life and achieve academically.

Tuākana student journeys

Photo of Araitea Smith

Araitea Smith


3rd year, Bachelor of Earth Science/ Environmental Science

I chose to study Earth Science because I was passionate about science in high school and wanted to study something I could envision doing in the future. Most importantly, it is a degree that can lead to employment.

I thoroughly enjoy my degree, particularly the many field trips that accompany my area of study. University is not just about what you study but what you learn along the way and the opportunities that arise through being a student. My first year was spent at O’Rorke Hall and my second year at Carlaw Park Student Village, where I developed good friendships and made connections with people in my area of study.

At University, I have been a part of the Amorangi ambassador programme, which is designed to inspire Rangatahi to pursue a tertiary education, and I have been actively involved in the University’s Tuākana programme, which aims to encourage and support Māori and Pacific academic excellence. I am now a Tuākana tutor for Geography and Environmental Science.

To students embarking University I urge you to focus on your studies but also remain open-minded: you will forever be presented with new and exciting prospects throughout your University journey.


  • The University of Auckland Chancellors Award for Top Māori and Pacific Scholars (CATS) 2013-present
  • Roy Watling Mitchell Bursaries Scholarship (Maori Education Trust)
  • Ngāpuhi Iwi grants

Tuākana in the Faculties

The Student Equity Adviser, based in the Equity Office East Wing of the ClockTower, can answer questions and help you to register. Contact Naomi Fuamatu n.fuamatu@auckland.ac.nz, Student Equity Adviser.

Tuākana Contestable Fund 2015

Photo of young Māori female student with a duffel bag

Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Malo e lelei, Talofa lava, Bula vinaka and warm Pacific greetings

The purpose of the Tuākana Contestable Fund is to support the University's Māori and Pacific postgraduate students or potential postgraduate students who:

  • Have been selected to present academic research papers at a national or international conference, wānanga, symposium, fono or another related event; and have the support of their academic supervisor.
  • Would like to attend their first conference, wānanga, symposium, fono or other related event and will not be presenting papers (considered on a case by case basis).
  • Are potential postgraduate students in their final year of undergraduate study who wish to attend and/or present at conferences (considered on a case by case basis).
  • Priority will be given to first time applicants of this fund.
  • To ensure that all students have the opportunity to access this fund, there is a limit to support up to two students - attending the same conference from the same faculty. 

Please email Naomi Fuamatu (n.fuamatu@auckland.ac.nz) for any further inquiries.

In our words

What's it really like to study here at The University of Auckland? Watch videos of some of our Māori and Pacific students share their experiences and offer tips on how to succeed at University.

Watch videos



Thumbnail of Tuākana brochure
Tuākana brochure (ebook)
Tuākana brochure
(428.4 kB, PDF)