Awanuiārangi marks 30th anniversary

Published date : Thu, 10 February 2022 02:03 PM

Ē ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā kārangaranga maha, mai i ngā Kuri ā Wharei ki Tihirau, te Waka o Mātaatua, te hunga ringa raupā i ngākaunui kia puāwai te taonga, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.  Kia rātou hoki kua whetūrangihia, i whai whakaaro anō hoki kia puāwai te moemoea, moe mai rā, moe mai rā, okioki mai i roto i ngā ringaringa o to tātou Atua, ka hoki mai kia tātou te hunga ora, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.     

Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. 
It all began with an idea - to empower our Mātaatua tribal communities through higher education, here in our own rohe.

Our distinguished Professor, Sir Hirini Moko Mead, was the original visionary who guided us through translating that idea and vision into reality, resulting in the opening of Awanuiārangi thirty years ago today, on 10 February 1992.  He shares: “Education was to be a tool to empower our people away from the effects of colonisation and confiscation and into the future, properly equipped to face new challenges. We wanted to make tertiary education readily available to our people including the iwi of Mātaatua in the Bay of Plenty and we were aiming to attract Māori students as well as those wanting to learn at a Wānanga.”

“It has been a journey with many challenges, but we always knew where we were going – and we just kept at it until we got there. It was always our dream to establish a Wānanga to provide tertiary education that went the whole way – right up to PhD level.”

Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi initially began in two relocatable classrooms in Whakatāne, teaching programmes that included a Certificate in Māori Studies and a one-year diploma in Māori Leadership. Eventually, the Government confirmed Awanuiārangi met the legal requirements of a wānanga under the Education Act 1989 four years later, with registration taking place on 1 January 1997.  It was a significant milestone.

Today, we have three campuses, with more than 5,900 students being provided with opportunities to study a number of subjects and professions, including performing arts, marae based studies, teaching, nursing, environmental sciences, humanities, broadcasting and media, and postgraduate studies.  Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi is also the only wānanga that delivers programmes from foundation courses through to doctoral degrees and post-doctoral studies. This accent on higher qualifications is underscored in our name to describe this institution as a higher house of learning, in the spirit of our traditional Whare Wānanga that flourished before colonisation.

Justice Layne Harvey, Chairperson of Te Mana Whakahaere o Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi (the Council), says: “when Awanuiārangi was first established, our goal was to provide opportunities for our communities to participate in higher education and learning within a framework grounded in our own mātauranga Māori. As well as providing a unique opportunity to learn based on the values of āhuatanga Māori according to tikanga Māori. That remains our aspiration today, and our staff and students are fulfilling that goal, with the support of their whānau, hapū and their wider community networks.  It has been an incremental and intergenerational change over the last three decades and we now see students, their parents, grandparents and their mokopuna studying and graduating together.  We are grateful for their continuing support.”

Chief Executive Professor Wiremu Doherty adds: “It has been a journey from idea to inception, to where we are today. By ensuring Māori intellectual tradition is seen as equal to the knowledge base of others, we are achieving aspirations we set out for ourselves and contributing to communities across Aotearoa. We want to mihi everyone who is walking this journey with us.”

On the future of Awanuiārangi Sir Hirini Moko Mead says: “In the next 30 years our campus will still be here, we will be educating, and students will still be following our vision: Rukuhia te mātauranga ki tōna hōhonutanga me tōna whānuitanga.

Whakakiia ngā kete a ngā uri o Awanuiārangi me te iwi Māori whānui ki ngā taonga tuku iho, ki te hōhonutanga me te whānuitanga o te mātauranga kia tū tangata ai rātou i ngā rā e tū mai nei.

Pursue knowledge to the greatest depths and its broadest horizons.

To empower the descendants of Awanuiārangi and all Māori to claim and develop their cultural heritage and to broaden and enhance their knowledge base so as to be able to face with confidence and dignity the challenges of the future.

Nō reira, noho haumaru mai i raro i ngā manaakitanga ā tō tātou Atua, tēnā koutou, tēna koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

Some of the founders of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

Some of the founders of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

Old reception building that has been gifted to Apanui School

Old reception building that has been gifted to Apanui School

An early class of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

An early class of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

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