Graduation 2024 News

Published date : Mon, 13 May 2024 07:33 pm

Wānanga celebrates its largest cohort of indigenous doctoral graduates

Haka and waiata filled the main streets of Whakatāne, as regalia-wearing tauira (students) walked through town to celebrate graduation.

On Friday 10 May, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi (Awanuiārangi) acknowledged the hard work of its tauira and marked a record year for the number of indigenous doctoral graduands in a ceremony.

Chief Executive Professor Wiremu Doherty says it's remarkable to be conferring nearly 2,500 tohu (qualifications) in person and in absentia, with 14 of these at the doctoral level.

“Graduation is a chance to come together and celebrate the journey, acknowledging the commitment that goes into obtaining tohu, with the whānau who empowered tauira to pursue further education. It is a privilege to play a role in their development, and to send them off with well wishes to take their next steps.”

A pōwhiri was held at the beginning of the day at Te Mānuka Tūtahi marae, before graduands made their way to town for the traditional ‘Gown and Town’ hikoi (walk) before returning to Te Mānuka Tūtahi marae for the ceremony.

Among qualifications conferred was a Distinguished Fellowship in Education. Adrienne von Tunzelmann was awarded this by Awanuiārangi for her exemplary contributions to community development, governance and education.

Awanuiārangi is a tertiary education provider that offers programmes from entry-level foundational courses through to doctoral studies. It is the only Wānanga in Aotearoa New Zealand to offer doctoral studies and its focus is on enabling indigenous learning methods and programmes.

“We are so proud to be at the forefront of indigenous studies, not only in Aotearoa New Zealand, but as an internationally renowned tertiary provider that supports an authentic experience of learning within a mātauranga Māori framework,” adds Professor Doherty.

Among guests at graduation were an overseas cohort from the Munarra Centre for Regional Excellence in Victoria, Australia. The group travelled to New Zealand to learn more about the indigenous learning model Awanuiārangi employs as their own indigenous-led education facility takes shape.

“We are really thrilled they could join us for this milestone for our tauira, particularly in a record- breaking year for the number of indigenous doctoral graduands, at 14. To be able to showcase our tauira, including international tauira from the likes of Washington in the US and Fiji, who have chosen us to further their education, is a real highlight,” explains Professor Doherty.

Graduation is one of two significant events for Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in May. Iwi Taketake, a symposium for the doctoral graduands to present their research to their community, has also taken place on Thursday 9 May.

Research leads presented findings on various topics from the impacts on whakapapa of removing children from families, Reo Māori reclamation, river protection, as well as identity politics.

Whānau enjoyed a day of thought-provoking panels, and a keynote address from Distinguished Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith - one of the most influential and internationally recognised Māori scholars and researchers.

Council chairperson, the Hon. Justice Layne Harvey, is proud of the indigenous lens being applied to projects that will make major impacts.

“Awanuiārangi represents a tradition of maintaining and enhancing indigenous and contemporary knowledge that stretches back beyond the centuries before colonisation. Through the many hands and minds that have helped shape this institution over the past three decades, we have drawn on the capability and capacity of those traditions to enable our tauira to focus on indigenous areas of study.

“Iwi Taketake is a demonstration of what the future looks like, with curious and inquisitive minds leading the way. Our eagerness to discover the next steps our tauira take is matched by the immense pride we feel in their achievements as our 2023 graduates.”

Doctoral Graduates

Some of the 2024 Doctoral Graduands pictured with Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi kaimahi

Graduands during gown and town procession

Graduands enjoy annual hīkoi procession through Whakatāne

Graduands are celebrated by local schools

Local Whakatāne schools join in Graduation celebrations

Whakapā mai

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Content and Communications Specialist
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