The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (TWoA) have renewed their commitment to work together in a partnership that is based upon Te Tiriti o Waitangi and focused on learners across Aotearoa.
The two organisations have collaborated in recent months on work programmes that will serve current and future generations of New Zealanders.
The agreement He Kupu Whakatau reflects this work and the commitment of both organisations to boost the achievement, skills and training of Māori learners while supporting mātauranga Māori.
He Kupu Whakatau recognises the unique national reach of TWoA, and commits both organisations to increasing the number of New Zealanders learning te reo Māori.
TWoA Council Chair Bryan Hemi says He Kupu Whakatau will see a refocusing of the relationship between the TEC and TWoA.
“It sets out a roadmap for how TEC will work with us to support Māori achievement in the sector and to create more educational and training opportunities in our communities, which will become increasingly important as the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy and job market continue to play out,” says Mr Hemi.
“The early signs indicate that a significant downturn caused by COVID-19 will hit our people hard but by working collaboratively with the TEC on this issue now it will help TWoA to prepare for the role it will play in supporting our communities in the COVID-19 recovery.”
“Te reo Māori, mātauranga Māori, and the wānanga system of knowledge and learning are taonga, and the preservation and enhancement of these taonga is an objective of both parties,” says TEC CE Tim Fowler.
“TWoA has a huge role to play in working with displaced workers in vulnerable communities post COVID-19. They have reach into many of the communities - encompassing Māori, Pacific, and Pākeha - who will need the most support in the COVID-19 response. The agreement we have reached will help ensure that TWoA is strongly positioned to play that kind of supportive role, and, importantly, it will help ensure the TEC is a stronger Treaty partner.”
The TWoA Council recently commissioned a Deloitte review of its operations to identify ways to strengthen the organisation.
Mr Fowler says this review initially raised some concerns about the delivery of learning hours, and the TEC opened an investigation.
“However, what we found was that TWoA was working hard to be able to evidence all the different ways that its delivery occurs. One of its major strengths is how TWoA tailors its learning to meet the needs of its learners, and their students told us how happy they were with what they got from their programmes. So we closed our investigation and worked together on how we can support TWoA to keep improving its processes, and how we could support them to teach more New Zealanders te reo Māori.”
TWoA’s investment and work to lift its capability means it is now even better-placed to support a focus on increasing the number of te reo Māori speakers across Aotearoa.
“We have made significant investments to date in our systems and we are working with the TEC to increase this investment. This includes the implementation of a new online learner management system, which has also helped us to respond to the challenges of COVID-19,” says Mr Hemi.
This is an important time for the tertiary education and training sector and this agreement gives focus and direction for both organisations in responding to the needs of the sector and of learners.