“Our Village, Our Kāinga” was the theme of this year’s Māori and Pacific Welcome. And judging from the excitement and enthusiasm of the hundreds of new students, whānau and family members who attended, the University quickly became a familiar and comfortable new home.
Hosted by the Equity Office – Te Ara Tautika, the Māori and Pacific Welcome is a day-long opportunity to make new friends, enjoy great entertainment and learn about the range of services, supports and programmes that help ensure our Māori and Pacific students feel welcomed and supported at University.
After being welcomed onto Waipapa Marae, the participants moved to the Business School where they were greeted by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon. As the first member of his family to attend university, Professor McCutcheon assured the audience that there are plenty of people, programmes and resources in place to help new students overcome the initial challenges of starting university.
“We consider this a partnership with you as students, with your whānau, and with us, the University. We encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities to help you succeed, and we look forward to celebrating your success.”
In the Tuākana breakout sessions that followed, students participated in a range of ice-breaker activities, met new peers, and learned tips and information specific to their faculties. Michael Steedman, Kaiārahi for the Faculty of Science, described why he loves science, as an academic discipline and as a key that can open numerous different doors of opportunity.
“I love my job and I love the possibilities that exist here in science”, says Michael, who has a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science. “You never know where it is going to lead. I love hearing about the bank manager who wants to hire physics majors because they can problem-solve, or the students who are marrying business and science degrees so they can explore a range of career pathways.”
As lunch was enjoyed under the sunny skies in the John Hood Plaza, the crowds flocked to the myriad expo tables and cheered on Che Fu, Sammy J, Ihi and Tash Hohaia.
“It’s been a fantastic day for everyone who turned out for this year’s Welcome and we acknowledge the many people who helped make this event so successful,” says Pacific Equity Adviser Fritz Evile, who organised the Welcome with Jonaan McLeod, Kaitakawaenga Māori - Māori Liaison Officer. “We are confident our new Māori and Pacific students and their whānau and families already feel like they are part of our University family.”