22 September 2022 at 3:38 pm

PIF Recipient: Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

Indigenous links across Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean) are set to be strengthened by a new postgraduate curriculum led by one of New Zealand’s leading Indigenous education providers, and co-constructed with Indigenous communities and institutions across the United States. 

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Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi is one of New Zealand’s three wānanga - publicly owned tertiary institutions which provide education in a uniquely Māori cultural context. Awanuiārangi has been engaging internationally for over a decade, delivering postgraduate programmes to Indigenous communities in Washington State and Hawaii, and establishing networks and alliances with Indigenous communities and education providers across the United States. 

Now, a new project led by Awanuiārangi is set to accelerate Indigenous education outcomes globally and build on New Zealand’s position as a global leader in postgraduate Indigenous education. ‘Iwi taketake’ (Indigenous people) is a project that will see the development of an international Indigenous curriculum for postgraduate study, covering master’s degrees, postgraduate certificates and diplomas, through to doctoral qualifications. 

The target audience for the programme is Indigenous college graduates based at Hawai’i, Washington State, Canada and Australia, with Indigenous college graduates and tribal communities across the United States also in focus. A key objective of the new model is to design an education offering that fits the learner, rather than requiring learners to fit the programme. 

Awanuiārangi will take its model of working with local hapū, iwi and their representative organisations in Aotearoa to the four focus areas in the Unites States, where it has already established networks. Iwi taketake will be the result of a co-construction process with Indigenous organisations and potential scholars, with an in-person wānanga (symposium) taking place at each delivery site in the United States. 

After the curriculum is developed, endorsed and approved by key stakeholders, Awanuiārangi aims to run Iwi taketake for its first cohort of scholars in 2024, through a blended mix of in-person and online learning across the four sites. The programmes that form the Iwi taketake curriculum may be co-badged - awarded jointly by Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and partners offshore, such as the University of Washington Tacoma and the University of Hawai’i Maui College. 

Awanuiārangi’s model will affirm the notion that postgraduate education can provide Indigenous scholars with pathways for purpose-led careers that benefit people, place and planet. The subject areas and kaupapa (initiatives) covered by the curriculum will be delivered in a culturally safe environment, respecting Indigenous research ethics and methodologies. Scholars will draw learning directly from their own communities with the support of Awanuiārangi and their local delivery partners, ensuring that programmes are highly relevant to learners’ cultural and social contexts. 

The collaborative, co-constructed programme will also serve to strengthen Indigenous links and alliances between New Zealand and the United States more generally, and open further opportunities for collaboration and improving educational success in postgraduate study. 

Iwi taketake is one of the initiatives supported by the International Education Product Innovation Fund, a New Zealand Government-funded initiative to reimagine what a New Zealand education can look like and mean for global learners. Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao is New Zealand’s government agency dedicated to international education, and is the kaitiaki (guardian) of the Product Innovation Fund. 

The Fund is supporting a range of pilot projects that develop and test new education products and services for global learners. Awanuiārangi’s pilot project explores how New Zealand’s strengths in Indigenous education can be delivered to international learners, tailored to Indigenous communities in other countries, and delivered in a blended medium, while uplifting all parties and helping strengthen Indigenous connections and cooperation across the Pacific.  

More information: 

Learn more about Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi 

*Image at top of page: TWWoA's Professor Mera Penehira with Big Island of Hawaii cohort of doctoral students: Katie Benioni, Nancy Levenson, Noekeonaona Kirby and Taffi Wise. 

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