Maori voice to help shape tertiary education

  • Hon Chris Hipkins

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced the members of Te Taumata Aronui, a group to work with Government on tertiary education policy from a Māori community and employer perspective.

“Te Taumata Aronui is an opportunity for Māori and the Crown to work more closely on changes to the tertiary education system,” Chris Hipkins said.

“We have heard that Māori want to be involved in the Crown’s work to re-design our education system so it works better for Māori.

“Te Taumata Aronui will help develop our tertiary education system, including through the Reform of Vocational Education, so that it better supports the aspirations, and reflects the needs, of Māori learners, communities and employers.

“Māori are significant employers with social and economic goals, with an estimated national Māori asset base valued at over $50 billion. This is particularly important for regional New Zealand, and for primary and export sectors.

“The Group will provide independent recommendations and advice to Ministers and work with officials on how tertiary education can better respond to the needs of Māori learners, communities and employers and help improve learner and community outcomes.

“I will finalise the Terms of Reference for Te Taumata Aronui with the Group early in the new year. I look forward to sitting down with the members to set a work programme,” Chris Hipkins said.

Te Taumata Aronui members are Professor Wiremu Doherty, Maru Nihoniho (MNZM), Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, Mereraina Piripi, Dr Eruera Prendergast-Tarena, Brendon Green, Mamaeroa Merito, and Dr Wayne Ngata who will chair the Group.

Biographical details of the appointees

Dr Wayne Ngata

Dr Wayne Ngata has extensive experience in Māori development and Māori education. He is a former Board Chair of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission) and has been the Head of Mātauranga Māori at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand. Most recently, he was Raukura/Chief Advisor Te Ao Māori at the Ministry of Education.

Maru Nihoniho (MNZM)

Maru Nihoniho founded Metia Interactive, is internationally recognised for designing and developing medically therapeutic games, and has received accolades for video games that address the needs of rangatahi. She is also on the Board of Directors for Māori Television and the Māori Carbon Foundation.

Professor Wiremu Doherty

Professor Wiremu Doherty has experience in iwi development and mātauranga Māori in education contexts. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and his other roles include being Chair of Ngā Kaitūhono, Director on Te Uru Taumata for Tūhoe and Chair of Te Tau Ihu o Ngā Wānanga.

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal is an independent researcher and composer with a long-term interest in indigenous knowledge and development. He has completed extensive research on mātauranga Māori, teaches and speaks widely on this topic and explores its application in organisations and within iwi. He also has extensive experience in the arts, culture, heritage and education sectors and was previously Director of Ngā Manu Atarau (Communities, Repatriation, Sector Development) at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand. He currently serves on the boards of Te Pou Theatre (West Auckland) and Tāwhiri (Wellington), the governance entity that oversees, among other things, the New Zealand Festival.

Dr Eruera Prendergast-Tarena

Dr Eruera Prendergast-Tarena has experience in iwi social and economic strategy and development. He is the founding Executive Director of Tokona te Raki, Chair of Te Māngai Pāhō, (the Māori Broadcasting Funding Agency), and the founder of He Toki Apprenticeship Training Trust. He has previously worked for iwi-led tertiary partnership Te Tapuae o Rehua, Ngāi Tahu Tourism and Ngāi Tahu Holdings Group Limited.

Brendon Green

Brendon Green has experience in primary industries, energy and water. He is actively involved in kaupapa Māori through his roles in Tainui Kawhia Incorporation, Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Hikairo, Te Whakakitenga o Waikato and the Rūnanga at the Manukau Institute of Technology. He is also on the Board of Watercare where he chairs its Strategic Transformation Programme. He holds advisory roles for technology development with the University of Canterbury as well as for projects related to hydrogen, electric trucks and geothermal energy. Brendon brings offshore experience from the US and Mexico and holds a degree in Chemical and Process Engineering & a Post Graduate Diploma in Dairy Science and Technology.

Mereraina Piripi

Mereraina Piripi has experience in iwi social and economic development. She works on programme design for the establishment team of Te Hiku’s joint work programme with the Crown and provides financial support and advice to schools in Te Tai Tokerau. She has previously been Financial Controller for Navilluso Limited, Finance Manager and Project Manager for Te Hiku Iwi Development Trust.

Mamaeroa Merito

Mamaeroa Merito has experience supporting students and Māori communities in the areas of health and wellbeing. She is Tumuaki for Te Mana Ākonga (National Māori Students’ Association) and a coordinator at Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao Trust Service in Rotorua. She has established Te Oranga Tauira o Te Mana Ākonga (the National Tauira Mental Health Working Group) and Te Pararē (the first National Māori Tertiary Students’ publication).