Vision of cultural inclusiveness a step closer

Vision of cultural inclusiveness a step closer

CPIT and Whitireia Community Polytechnic officially agreed to work together towards Māori achievement, with senior managers from both institutes signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in CPIT’s wharenui on Friday 9 August.

The agreement between the institutes provides a platform for sharing and developing a CPIT tool designed to support retention and success of Māori students by encouraging staff across the institute to help create a culture of inclusiveness. The project, E Amo E Rere - A Journey to cultural inclusiveness, was launched in 2011 and has been helping staff across CPIT to evaluate their cultural awareness and enable them to set achievable targets for development.

“Our Māori Exemplar tool encourages Māori participation but it does it from the heart of the culture of the organisation. I remember the saying ‘pinning wings on a caterpillar doesn’t make a butterfly’. We have to not only plug in practices but create an environment that is inclusive of many cultures. As well as contributing to Māori advancement, we will end up with a richer place to be,” CPIT Chief Executive Kay Giles said.

Whitireia Chief Executive Don Campbell paid tribute to the work and the vision of former CPIT Kaiārahi Dr Monte Ohia. “E amo, E rere encapsulates Monte’s name and spirit,” he said. “He was pioneer in New Zealand tertiary education.”

Current Kaiārahi at CPIT Hana O’Regan agreed it was “a proud moment because it is a path we have been on since 2006 when the late Monte Ohia conceived the idea. He started talking about Māori achievement through using exemplars and how to support staff in all roles to be responsive to Māori needs.

Whitireia Community Polytechnic Chief Executive Don Campbell and CPIT Chief Executive Kay Giles sign a Memorandum of Understanding in CPIT’s wharenui to work together towards Māori achievement.

“Now we’re at a point where we can share not just an idea and a tool but a true reflection of the aspirations that were encompassed in Monte’s philosophy.”

Ohia developed and led the vision of ‘Whānau Transformation through Education’, resulting in initiatives to engage whanau of all generations to become a part of the CPIT community through celebrating Te Reo Māori, Te Ao Māori, identity and experiences initiated through Te Puna Wānaka. The Māori Exemplar Tool which evloved into E amo, E rere, was developed for all staff to easily access for self-assessment and self-development. CPIT has subsequently launched the Centre for Māori and Pasifika Achievement and trades training programmes to encourage Māori and Pasifika students to up skill for the rebuild of Christchurch.

Whitireia was invited to collaborate in the development of E Amo E Rere, O’Regan said, because the institute “understands the genesis of the project and shares the passion for what we are trying to achieve – in short Whitireia bought into the whakapapa.”

Speakers vowed to bring the agreement to life a collaborative arrangement that will benefit both institutes. “It’s not tokenistic, it’s not about ticking boxes. It’s about wearing your heart on your sleeve and supporting each other strengths to the benefit of all Māori students.”