University of Canterbury boosts scholarship for Māori and Pacific students

A unique scholarship supporting Māori and Pacific students to navigate their first year at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury is returning bigger and better in 2022.

Takere, a pilot programme that launched in January this year with 37 participants, is being extended to accept more candidates and offering them greater support after gaining positive feedback.

University of Canterbury Amokapua Pākākano | Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori, Pacific and Equity, Dr Darryn Russell says Takere has helped foster whanaungatanga (relationships) between Māori and Pacific students and staff.

“The feedback we’ve had from our 2021 Takere cohort is that they have strengthened their connection to UC staff and felt encouraged and supported. This experience has boosted their self-confidence and given them skills that will help carry them through their university journey.

“We’ve made some changes and improvements based on their feedback and we are also increasing next year’s intake to 50 students, which is fantastic because we’ve had growing interest.”

Next year Takere will, for the first time, provide needs-based subsidised accommodation at Tupuānuku, a newly opened University of Canterbury hall of residence, throughout the students’ first year.

The initial transition academy, which supports the academic and cultural aspect of the scholarship programme, has also been extended from four weeks to six weeks, with an increased fortnightly allowance to ensure students are well supported during this important time.

“We are delighted that Takere is being developed and extended for Māori and Pacific students joining the University in 2022,” Dr Russell says. “We believe it provides an excellent network to support the success of talented taiohi (young people).”

Andrew Fraenkel, from Wellington, is part of this year’s Takere programme and says it has completely transformed his experience of university. “Having advisors available straight away to help with anything you need to do with uni, makes you feel a lot more comfortable.

“I absolutely recommend it. The other people on the programme become some of your best mates and your support pillars.”

The Fijian 18-year-old, who is studying Law and Youth and Community Leadership at the University of Canterbury, is flatting with two other Takere participants.

Applications are open to Māori and Pacific applicants for next year’s Takere scholarship and transition academy programme, which includes a six-week academic and cultural live-in programme based in a student hall of residence.

The scholarship also provides tailored academic support and mentoring from Māori and Pacific student advisors throughout the year, a fees-free course, opportunities for strengthening leadership skills, and accommodation for the year at Tupuānuku (subject to a financial needs assessment).

Based on a narrative of navigation and exploration, the name Takere is taken from the whakataukī “E kore e ngaro, he takere waka nui”, meaning, “We will never be lost; we are the hull of a great canoe”.  Students are given provisions that will stock the hull (takere) of their waka (voyaging canoe) and set them up for their academic career.

Applications for Takere are open until Sunday, 15 August 2021.