Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi is partnering with University of Hawai’i – Windward Community College to bring 28 students and staff to Whakatāne next week as part of their studies in rituals of encounter.
Windward, in Kāne’ohe, O’ahu, is a campus of University of Hawai’i. The College looked to its longstanding relationship with Awanuiārangi to develop its first Study Abroad programme for students after establishing an on-campus Study Abroad centre earlier this year.
Makanani Salā, of the Hawaiian Studies faculty, said Windward consistently has one of the highest percentages of native Hawaiian student enrolments in the University of Hawai’i System.
“The opportunity for the College to partner across Polynesia and bring students to Aotearoa is the realisation of a dream over 15 years in the making,” Ms Salā said.
“This will be the first trip abroad for the majority of students and serves to create an opportunity to expand their worldview and increase global awareness, while facilitating introspection and critical thinking.”
The group of 21 students, whose majors include Liberal Arts, Hawaiian Studies, Education and Business, will be hosted in Whakatāne from Sunday 26 March until Wednesday 29 March. The group will also include Chancellor Doug Dykstra; Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs, Ardis Eschenberg; Hawaiian Studies faculty, Makanani and Aaron Salā; Counsellor Kaahu Alo; and administrative staff Dorene Niibu and Kāhea Tani.
The students are studying rituals of encounter from around Polynesia. Their study experience will include participating in and observing the rituals associated with Maōri protocol. A special lecture series has been organised by Awanuiārangi as part of the students’ time on campus in Whakatāne, and the group will also visit local sites, including Mataatua wharenui and White Island.