Tuākana is a University-wide learning community that enhances the academic success of our Māori and Pacific students.

Most of the University’s Māori and Pacific students engage with Tuākana. The faculties have dedicated staff and meeting spaces to support our Māori and Pacific students, and they develop their own programmes to complement the teaching and learning environment.

Tuākana offers small-group learning, whakawhanaungatanga, wānanga, fonotaga, face-to-face meetings and workshops. These help connect Māori and Pacific students with senior Māori and Pacific students (tuākana), academic teaching staff, and key people across the University.

Tuākana student journeys

Photo of Denyce Su'a in Aotea Square
Denyce Su'a

Denyce Su'a

Vaivase and Salelologa, Samoa

Bachelor of Arts (BA), 2013
Bachelor of Arts (BA(Hons)), 2014
Master of Arts (MA), 2015

My parents always used to talk about their days at university, so when I left high school I was super excited to make memories of my own and work hard to get that degree. Lessons learnt at the University of Auckland go far beyond the classroom walls. Everyday I’m inspired by my fellow Pasifika students and everyday I’m reminded of what an amazing institution I’m studying at.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt at the University of Auckland is never be afraid to ask for help. I don’t think I would have made it through my undergrad years if it weren’t for the Tuākana Arts family. They hold extra workshops and tutorials just so you get your best shot at excellence, plus it’s an easy way to make new friends and score free food.

I was lucky to start off my studies with help from the Equity Office. In addition, the CATS* scholarship I was awarded helped pay for my undergraduate degree and also allowed me to meet and network with different staff and students from all around the University. It’s been five years since I joined the University of Auckland community and I get what my parents were talking about. These past years have been some of the most challenging and rewarding of my life so far.

Scholarships and awards

  • University of Auckland Chancellor’s Awards for Top Māori and Pacific Scholars (CATS)
  • Recipient and mentor 2012 -2014 and mentor, 2012-2014
  • Blues in Arts, 2015
*From 2017 CATS scholarships are being superseded by the University of Auckland Māori Academic Excellence Scholarships and the University of Auckland Pacific Academic Excellence Scholarships.
Read more about the journeys of our Tuākana students
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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

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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.


Find out more about our support for Māori and Pacific postgraduate students

More information


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Tuākana brochure (ebook)

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