Wintec has appointed two Pasifika leaders to grow participation and equity for Pasifika learners.
Colin Tuaa has joined Wintec as Pasifika Lead – Strategy and Engagement and he will work closely with Rose Marsters as Pasifika Lead – Learner Success to create a strategy for Pasifika learners.
Wintec Chief Executive David Christiansen says growing Pasifika capability and success is a major focus for Wintec and these appointments are an intentional approach to create a system-level shift to enable more Pasifika learners to succeed.
“We need to improve education pathways for Pasifika learners. They are underrepresented in study areas and we need to provide more appropriate, responsive and supportive environments to lift outcomes too. Through a holistic approach that includes leadership, learner-centred education and processes, we can wrap the right support around them to enable their success.
“Our new Pasifika Leads have unique skill sets and they will be working with a wider team to develop a Pasifika strategy for Wintec. The end-goal is to lift Wintec’s commitment to Pasifika people’s aspirations and equity in the region, and there are exciting times for this ahead.”
Founder of Waikato Pacific Business Network and Pasifika adviser, Meleane Burgess worked with Wintec to recruit the new roles and says these appointments are a milestone for Wintec.
“It is my hope that these two appointments will bring the much-needed success that we’ve anticipated for Pasifika learners, not only here in the Waikato but also across Aotearoa.”
Semester two enrolment for Pasifika students at Wintec is up 8 percent this year compared to the same time in 2019.
Marsters has been with Wintec since 2016 and is well known in her role as Pūkenga Āwhina (learner support) with Wintec Centre for Education and Foundation Pathways, and for her work and passion for Pasifika Development Ranga’ao (Research).
She is passionate about the sustainability of Pasifika people through achievement, success and wellbeing.
“In this new role I will be working directly with students, staff and the community with a big lens on learner success, and this is going to grow innovation and collaboration across Wintec for our Pasifika learners.”
A past initiative was to establish a working group, Kaveinga Ngākau, the Wintec Pasifika Staff Network. It was originally to support staff wellbeing says Marsters with a big smile, but now it has morphed into a working group who will be a sounding board for Pasifika direction at Wintec.
“This collective of Pasifika staff is guided by their hearts and through this new role, I will be facilitating opportunities with them to put Pasifika learners, families and our community at the heart of Wintec’s new Pasifika strategy.”
Tuaa has joined Wintec after a long career working in Aotearoa New Zealand and across the Pacific in education, sport and social development roles. The former All White has honed his observance and responsiveness skills on the playing field and as a coach.
“These new roles are a breakthrough for Pasifika people and an exciting new direction for them and Wintec, in terms of equity. From my own experience I understand the personal challenges Pasifika people are faced with and how Pasifika and Māori communities are being underserved by the current system.
“From day one of my journey here, there’s a strong commitment from our Chief Executive, and a directive from NZIST. It’s clear there is potential to scale a successful strategy that works for our current and future students at Wintec and the Pacific as a whole.”
Boosting achievement for Māori and Pasifika is a top priority in the Governments’ Tertiary Education Strategy . By 2030, 30 percent of New Zealanders will be Māori or Pasifika and there’s a call for tertiary educators in New Zealand to focus on supporting achievement to these groups.
“Our role is to set a Pasifika strategy that connects and integrates Waikato Pasifika communities to Wintec. We want to ensure that all Pasifika students and families see Wintec as a safe place that supports a strong sense of belief and belonging, and that Pasifika are enabled to confidently carry their cultural values throughout their student journey to achieve academic success,” adds Tuaa.