Skip to main content

Learning advisors from across the motu discuss strategies for Māori and Pacific success

12 December, 2023

MATLAANZ/PATLAANZ Hui-Fono 2023 hosted by Ara | Te Pūkenga


The Hui-Fono commenced with a whakatau at Ara | Te Pūkenga.

Positive energy and strong intent filled the whare at Ara | Te Pūkenga when Māori and Pacific members of the Association of Tertiary Learning Advisors of Aotearoa New Zealand (MATLAANZ and PATLAANZ) gathered in Ōtautahi for their biennial Hui-Fono.

The two-day programme was packed with inspiring keynote speakers, panels and workshops, with the overall aim to “share our experiences, ideas, skills and knowledge to improve best practice for learners and each other”.

Welcoming manuhiri (visitors) to Te Puna Wānaka on Ara’s City campus, Ara Pā Whakawairua, Reimana Tūtengāehe, said since its inception, the whare was a place for all Pacific peoples.

Dora Roimata Langsbury, Kaitoko Āko Māori ki Ara, said the hui-fono set a challenge to explore strategies and initiatives that empower Māori and Pacific learners for academic success. “We had a wide range of presenters from both Te Pūkenga and universities from all over Aotearoa sharing their initiatives for ākonga Māori and Pacific. Ara also invited a panel of ākonga Māori and Pacific to share experiences of their learner journey. There is nothing like the power of an in-person hui-fono to build a collective kete of good practice.”

Early in the programme, delegates heard from keynote speaker Heperi Harris whose deep passion for Te Reo Māori, indigenous education, language revitalisation, giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Te Ao Māori pedagogical practice stems from his career across secondary and tertiary education sectors.

Award-winning journalist and ocean voyager Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna’i addressed the second day of the Hui-Fono, sharing powerful learning experiences of canoe-building and wayfinding to develop sense of self, community and knowledge.

One of the opening presentations, ’Te ara whakatipu akoranga ki te tonga – Southern initiatives for Māori and Pacific learner success’ was delivered by several representatives from Te Pūkenga Rohe Whā (Region Four).

Taking centre stage to share their experiences were Kylie Hohaia Osborne, James Woods, Tereinamu Hakopa, Max McKenzie and Rebecca Swindells from Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga and Poharama Nopera, Georgie Archibald, Racheal Taula, Jahan Miller and Mere Kikau from Ara | Te Pūkenga.

Both institutes offered insights into how partnerships and community engagement have advanced Māori and Pacific cultural promotion and impacted revitalisation of cultural identity. The Ara team shared the success of initiatives such as the Tuakana-Teina programme, Pasifika Elevation peer mentoring and tutoring, and Pacific Cultural Home in progressing outcomes for Māori and Pacific learners.

Thirty-five attendees from 13 institutions around the motu took part in the conference. The event took place with the support of ATLAANZ and Ara Foundation.

Workshops and presentations on the first day of the Hui-Fono also included ’Māku anō e hanga tōku nei whare – I myself shall build my house’ by Tania Oxenham (Wintec | Te Pūkenga); ’TED Talanoa: Hokule’a Star of Gladness, we know the way’ by Ted Pogai (Wintec | Te Pūkenga); ’Wāhine Māia’ by Melanie Katu and Suzanne Brotherton (Toi Ohomai | Te Pūkenga); and ’The energetics of vā’ by I’u Tuagalu (Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau Auckland University of Technology) and Mona O’Shea (Waipapa Taumata Rau University of Auckland).

On day two, Herewini Easton and Brittany Rae Hoback (Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington) discussed how ākonga research is guided through ethics and Te Tiriti o Waitangi values. Dr Phillip Borell (Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha University of Canterbury) unpacked the benefits of pushing the boundaries on who, how, where and why indigenous educators teach, to progress “towards a genuine tertiary environment for our peoples”.


“The Hui-Fono was enriching in sharing many ideas through kōrero and talanoa and developing deeper connections with other Learning Advisors and similar roles,” said Kaitoko Ako Pacific Learning Advisor Georgie Archibald. “We’re grateful to the many kaimahi across Ara’s Academic Support, Māori, Pacific and wider teams, who contributed to make it such an awesome two days.”

Tate Tiatia, acting Director of Māori Achievement, said that the gathering of cultural experts, and the sharing of best practice is a credit to the Learning Advisor team who curated a relevant and culturally affirming hui-fono.  “Whanaungatanga (relationships) and fa'aaloalo (respect) are at the forefront of planning and demonstrates a commitment from Te Pūkenga in creating inclusive learning environments, a culturally competent and confident workforce, and ensuring kaupapa and mātauranga from Aotearoa and the Pacific informs the design and delivery of our programmes and services. This year's hui-fono provided all attendees and host kaimahi some practical teaching and learning tools, ancestral observations and concepts, and stimulation to advance Māori and Pacific learner success.”