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  • Guest Writer

Te Tiriti o Waitangiweto

Nā Te Mana Ākonga

The weaponization of Pākehā tears are the most dangerous weapons to ever befall Aotearoa; more dangerous than our patu, more dangerous than our taiaha, and more dangerous than their muskets. 

Māori tertiary education has long been plagued with external critiques, and cries of perceived privilege. From opposition against the establishment of our Whare Wānanga, to the historical exclusion of Mātauranga Māori, to the modern day protests against Māori student spaces in our Universities. Despite the theft of our everything, this still fails to fill the insatiable hunger of a group that has left us nothing. 

The irony of superimposing colonial institutions over Māori land, and then claiming that the Māori spaces within those institutions are unequal, is violently hypocritical.

Modern day Māori tertiary education shows homage to the protest movements of the 20th Century, where our kui mā and koro mā fought for the right of Māori to enter and succeed in higher education. Mā te ture anō te ture e āki. By utilising the tools and institutions which oversaw our colonisation, ākonga Māori are able to repurpose said tools to benefit our own people. Turning tools which were meant to destroy and assimilate into pathways of hope, and promise.

For too long indigenous histories have been written by colonial hands. For too long indigenous knowledge has been discarded by colonial minds. For too long indigenous peoples have been silenced by colonial tears. 

Akona is a fundamental Māori value which means to learn. This value is embroidered in the walls of our marae through our tukutuku panels. Additionally, akona also means to unlearn. Unlearning bias and entitlements which were engraved by society. Unlearning privilege and expectation. Unlearning the insatiable hunger to take all and leave nothing. 

As envisioned in the third article of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Māori and Pākehā will be treated equally. In colonial institutions where it is inherently unequal to be an ākonga Māori, they way to alleviate inequity is through avenues such as Māori student spaces, supporting Mātauranga Māori and ensuring that our ākonga Māori are not only present, but are thriving. 

Nei he mihi mākoha atu ki ngā rōpū tauira Māori o te motu, e whawhai ana mō ā tātou tamariki mokopuna, mō tō tātou ao mātauranga, mō tō tātou āpōpō.


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