On Rāhina this week Ngāti Toa Rangatira performed a blessing on new shared spaces at Whitireia Community Polytechnic.
In an exciting agreement, Ngāti Toa Rangatira will join Whitireia Community Polytechnic on campus in Porirua, sharing office space on the A Block administration area (Sir Paul Reeves Wing) and Te Onepu, B Block.
The new office space was aptly named Kahe-te rau-o-te rangi after a Ngāti Toa tūpuna wahine, Kahe-te rau-o-te rangi was one of the few wahine Māori who signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840. She is also locally known for her epic swim in 1824 from Kāpiti Island to the mainland, with her tamāhine strapped on her back.
The presence of Ngāti Toa Rangatira on the Porirua campus is an evolution in a long-standing relationship which reaches back to the very beginning of Whitireia as an education institution. The whenua (land) the campus resides on holds special significance for Ngāti Toa Rangatira. The sharing of these spaces acknowledges this and signals a continued commitment to value and share the whenua, and to partner in meaningful ways.
Whitireia, WelTec and Ngāti Toa Rangatira have a shared commitment to supporting ākonga Māori, whānau and communities. This is further strengthened through long-term campus presence and enhances the ability to serve Porirua and surrounding communities.
Mark Oldershaw, Chief Executive of Whitireia and WelTec, is excited about the educational opportunities this increased partnership will foster, “Ngāti Toa Rangatira has always had a strong influence on our educational strategy, by having Ngāti Toa Rangatira on campus alongside us we will be able to collectively shape our educational offerings and help Whitireia to continue to meet community needs,” says Mr Oldershaw.
“I look forward to having a more visible iwi presence on campus. Ngāti Toa Rangatira will make a valuable contribution to ākonga and ensure we continue as dynamic, innovative providers of vocational education, serving all communities.”
One of the major pou (pillars) in Whitireia and WelTec’s strategic framework is to improve outcomes and opportunities for ākonga Māori. Iwi partnerships are critical to achieving this and, since the inception of Whitireia as a provider of vocational education, Ngāti Toa Rangatira have been heavily involved in developing programmes with a particular focus on local community.
Ngāti Toa Rangatira were seminal in the development of the Bachelor of Nursing Māori programme, and work closely with Whitireia and WelTec as part of the Wellington Māori and Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT) consortium programme, motivated by a desire to provide the best and most effective vocational education opportunities for iwi, and to see ākonga Māori graduating and succeeding.
Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira CEO, Helmut Modlik, is excited by the move and what it represents for the future. “Ngāti Toa understands the power of education to transform lives and we are excited about our plans to work more closely with Whitireia and WelTec,” says Mr Modlik.
“Co-location on our whenua and increased cooperation in the provision of pathways and support to ākonga is an important step in our vision to enhance the wellbeing, prosperity and mana of our people which will inevitably support other communities in our rohe.”
Learning together. Transforming lives. Te ako ngātahi. Te whakaahua kētanga o te tangata.