Home > News > Archive > 5th July 2005

Hikoi about passion, pride

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier

HikoiBy Dean Taylor

They are passionate about learning according to their own banner, so they took their message to the streets of Te Awamutu.

About 70 Te Wananga o Aotearoa students and supporters marched from Rickit Road to the head office in Factory Road to show their support for their university.

The group was mainly protesting Education Minister Trevor Mallard’s bid to disband the Wananga council and replace it with an appointed commissioner.

A number of motorists, shoppers and businesspeople indicated their support for the group as they made their way through town. They received an emotional welcome at Apakura Campus.

Handouts contained a simple message: Te Wananga o Aotearoa provides affordable, quality, tertiary education for all New Zealanders, but especially Maori.

Figures show that in 2004 almost half of the Wananga’s 66,756 students were Maori. In 2003 more than half of all Maori participating in tertiary education were enrolled in Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Students believe the Wananga has revolutionised higher education for Maori, plus the free courses on offer have saved students an estimated half-a-billion dollars in debt since 1999.

The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research suggests that for every dollar invested in Te Wananga o Aotearoa, the New Zealand economy could benefit eightfold.