Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley said Te Pua Wananga ki te Ao, the Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Studies Scholarship for Academic Distinction, recognised the importance the university assigned to supporting the growth of Maori and indigenous knowledge in academia, the name change and new status reflecting the university’s strength in teaching and research in Maori language, culture and knowledge, its relationships with iwi, and its commitment to indigenous studies as it related to New Zealand and around the world.

“We have a high proportion of Maori students and outstanding research capability in the areas of Maori and indigenous studies, and the name change is a formalisation of our commitment to those areas,” he said.

“Indigenous studies is an important area of teaching and research, and the concepts it explores are very much applicable on a global level, which ties in well with our aim of producing graduates who are globally work- and-research-ready.”

Faculty dean Professor Brendan Hokowhitu said the new name was especially timely as the faculty worked to refine and enhance its academic offerings and appeal to a wider range of students.

“There’s a myth that we only cater for Maori and indigenous students, and that students from outside our faculty can’t take papers in te reo and/or tikanga,” he said. “We want to be more accessible to students, and staff, across the entire university, which is why part of our offerings for next year will include a Maori for absolute beginners paper and collaborative teaching with other faculties.”

From 2018 the faculty will offer two majors in its degree programmes – Maori and Indigenous Studies and Te Reo Maori. A third major, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, will be taught in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Te Pua Wananga ki te Ao will be awarded to 15 outstanding school leavers to support entry into one of the Bachelor of Arts’ majors in the Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Studies. Each scholarship will be worth $10,000, and applications close on October 31. Go to www.waikato.ac.nz/scholarships for details.

Source: The Northern Advocate

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