Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi was established in 1991 by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, opened in 1992 and officially became a Wānanga in 1997. Awanuiārangi is one of only three institutions designated as Wānanga under the Education Act 1989.
The establishment of Awanuiārangi was an important step that recognised the role of education in providing positive pathways for Māori development. Since that time the institution has offered a range of qualifications, from community education programmes, Certificates and Diplomas to Bachelor, Master and Doctoral degrees.
The founding kaupapa is:
Rukuhia te mātauranga ki tōna hōhonutanga me tōna whānuitanga.
Pursue knowledge to its greatest depths and its broadest horizons.
The name Awanuiārangi is linked to the whakapapa (genealogy) of the Mātaatua canoe, which landed at Whakatāne. Many tribal groups claim descent from the Mātaatua canoe and the ancestor Awanuiārangi, among them Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Whakatōhea, Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Manawa, Ngāti Whare, Ngāi te Rangi and Ngā Puhi.
Although Awanuiārangi has strong links to the people of Mātaatua, its doors of learning have always been open to all iwi and all New Zealanders.
Awanuiārangi also recognises that our aspirations are linked to and expressed by other indigenous people throughout the world. We acknowledge a common experience for tangata whenua and indigenous people everywhere.
Awanuiārangi provides educational opportunities to all Māori, New Zealanders and indigenous students through campuses based in Whakatāne, Auckland (Tāmaki) and Northland (Te Tai Tokerau), as well as through marae and community networks across the country.
Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi aims to be a quality provider of Māori programmes within the tertiary education sector in Aotearoa. Of importance is the vision to promote, grow and sustain Māori language, knowledge and culture in all its manifestations and with regard to tikanga Māori practice.
Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi delivers programmes that are distinctive in many ways.
We are unique in the tertiary sector of New Zealand, as we are the only wānanga that delivers programmes from foundation through to PhD. This accent on higher qualifications is captured in the title by the use of the term “Whare” to describe this institution as a higher house of learning similar to the ancient Whare Wānanga academies.
Our programmes are designed to support and promote academic excellence, and are benchmarked against those of other institutions. They are portable and transferable nationally and internationally. Therefore, it is important that we explore and integrate the world view of Māori and other indigenous peoples, and engage in and critique the world views of others.
As a wānanga, Awanuiārangi is charged with delivering tertiary programmes grounded in kaupapa Māori and āhuatanga Māori. This means that Māori knowledge and practices are key components of the academic programmes, teaching delivery and student experiences.
Tikanga Māori and Te Reo Māori are central to the way in which we operate. Some of our programmes have a high level of Māori language emphasis; others are designed to support new and emerging language learners. Mātauranga Māori and mātauranga-a-iwi underpin all qualifications, ensuring students have a strong cultural foundation and political literacy on which to build their academic achievement.
The rigour applied to the pursuit of academic excellence is based upon a number of key philosophies. The first is that where research is a requirement, it is expected that a significant component will be based on solutions to issues, as opposed to simply describing problems.
Secondly, driving the thought and planning behind every academic decision is the determination that programmes have a transformational element. The focus is not only for students to gain academic credentials, but also to ensure their learning has a tangible, positive outcome for the communities they come from.
Transformative approaches to educational achievement are a cornerstone of our broad and unique programme offerings, as we focus on providing an education that will encourage and support community development and growth.
Tertiary study at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi is supported by a vibrant academic community led by a growing number of Māori PhD-qualified staff and an adjunct faculty of national and international experts – all committed to developing Awanuiārangi as an outstanding institution for Māori scholarship.