Mon 20 May 2019

Talk yourselves up, Maori told

Support for Māori students at WITT was labelled “astonishing” by a graduand this morning.

Michael Adams said he was grateful for it.

“Māori need more emotional support, and it’s here – and it sounds wierd, but it’s somewhat forced on you,” he said.

But he said that was appropriate.

“Māori don’t ask for help and then they deny they need it – so for WITT to provide it in the way they do is quite astonishing.”

The theme that Māori should be loud and proud was picked up by several speakers.

Tutor Gary Te Waaka said today’s celebration was the second organised by WITT. He was proud of the success of the students who attended – but hoped more would attend in 202.

“We are whakamā (shy),” Michelle Martin, representing WhyOra, told the graduands. “I have been an adult learner and it is a pleasure to know tertiary education acknowledges Māori and Pasifika success.”

There were several emotional tributes during the celebration.

Gary Te Waaka noted he was nervous in his role as MC – filling the post which has been the domain of the late BJ Hetet, whose sudden death in February year cast a pall over WITT.

Graduate Rebecca Munn said not seeing BJ Hetet to greet students this morning was emotional.

“He touched our hearts – he made me think about where I came from and who I am.”

The morning celebration preceded certificate and diploma ceremonies at the TSBN Showplace today – and the annual WITT graduates’ march through the New Plymouth CBD which starts at 4:30pm.

Pictured: Tutor Gary Te Waaka greets graduand Rebecca Munn.