Thu 15 Feb 2018

WITT staff at Owae Marae

Over the past year or more WITT has been challenged to lift its game on Māori learner success.

Last week the team at the institute took that step up to the tūranga  (plate) and launched its commitment to a set of pedagogies that are embedded in programmes and campus life - for everyone.

The question that was grappled with for many months was ‘how can we create culturally appropriate learning environments that will lead to better outcomes for all of our learners?’

Where better to spend some time reflecting on our values as an organisation than surrounded by history, heritage, beauty and peace, supported by Koroua and Kuia of Te Atiawa and its hapū, coming together to speak, to learn, and to share kai?

WITT has been successful in raising course completion rates for all learners, and for Māori learners, but in the latter case - still not enough.

WITT has an excellent oversight committee for ensuring the visibility of Māori learner success which allows interventions to be put in place and replaced. This has in no small way been responsible for the better outcomes recorded for 2017.  Importantly, last year a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Te Atiawa and Taranaki Iwi and while it is in its early stages, Witt is thankful for the teachings and advice - particularly those delivered last week by Mitchell Ritai, Pou Whakakori for Te Atiawa. His storytelling captured the hearts and minds of this region’s educators. He gave context and history to what we all thought we knew.

For many of the Witt team, walking on to the marae at Owae was a first time experience. By the end of the first session, there were assurances that they would return. And when Witt returns, I am sure the welcome will be just as warm.