Scholarship steers Māori and Pacific students towards academic success

Takere, which began with a five-week live-in academy for 50 ākonga (students) at the start of this year, aims to develop skills and confidence helping Māori and Pacific students navigate university life and achieve academic success.

Funded in part by the Tertiary Education Commission, the scholarship is part of the University of Canterbury’s Kia Angitu Student Success Programme.

The name Takere comes from the whakataukī: “E kore e ngaro, he takere waka nui – we will never be lost; we are the hull of a great canoe”.  Students are given provisions to store in the hull (takere) of their waka (voyaging vessel), ensuring they are better prepared for their academic journeys.

University of Canterbury (UC) Kaihautū Taunaki Kaupapa | Director – Projects and Innovation Jeanine Tamati-Elliffe (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Te Atiawa) says Takere offers a “scaffolded approach to learning”.

“This kaupapa is about preparing the students academically for tertiary study, while providing them with opportunities to navigate university systems and create relationships with the UC whānau before they start university.”

Each student is matched with a kaitaki (experienced student mentor), offered tutoring and study advice, and invited to regular workshops covering topics such as job hunting and career advice.

The kaitaki are provided through Paihere, the UC Māori mentoring and leadership programme, as well as the UC Pasifika Mentoring programme.

Takere launched last year and was extended this year to include more places for students, a longer live-in programme, and extra accommodation support throughout the academic year for those opting to stay in the University’s newest hall of residence, Tupuānuku.

During the live-in stage, the students completed a first-year course, took part in workshops on budgeting, health and interpersonal skills and went on a day trip to Akaroa focused on deepening their understanding of Māori and Pacific history.

Meshach Faafoe, 18, (Samoan) says the support he’s gained from Takere has made a big difference. “Being together with other Māori and Pacific students, I’ve really learned a lot from that. We’ve been given a lot of support adapting to a new environment.”

University of Canterbury Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Catherine Moran says the Takere programme is part of the University’s commitment to being more inclusive.

“We’ve seen from last year’s Takere cohort how the programme creates a sense of community, builds on cultural and community connections, and provides the students with opportunities to connect with Māori and Pacific academics and other staff on campus.”

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