Hundreds of new and returning ākonga flooded the shared spaces at our New Plymouth and Hāwera campuses last week to take part in orientation events.
Fun in nature, the purpose of orientation events is to prepare ākonga for their programme of study, get them familiar with their campus, make friends and prepare them for the demands of tertiary study.
“It is a very busy time for us, but the buzz and hype students bring is infectious. It’s great,” says WITT Te Pūkenga Director of Student Success Zanetta Hinton.
Orientation is more than just one week. Orientation events are run over several weeks, starting with ākonga Meet and Greet evenings and a Step into WITT workshop designed to give an introduction to students new to tertiary study, as well as give them an opportunity to meet other new students and meet the student support staff.
“It’s a great way to get connected, take the mystery out of tertiary and feel prepared for that first day and that first class.”
O-Week itself began with powhiri at Te Piere (New Plymouth) and Taiporohenui Marae (South Taranaki) to welcome ākonga. Powhiri were followed by a series of lunchtime events across the week including shared kai, games days, a market day and sweet treats of smoothies and pancakes.
“For kaimahi (staff) and kaiawhina (student helpers) it is all hands-on deck … to be out and about on campus, to give those who look lost or anxious a helping hand.”
Whānau evenings follow O-Week and are an opportunity for ākonga to share their learning journey with their whānau while enjoying some kai together; where they’re studying, what they’re working on and meet their Kaiako and support staff.
“It takes us all, working together, to see an ākonga through to success,” adds Zanetta.