A pōwhiri marked a new era at Wintec recently, when recently appointed Pouārahi Māori - Executive Director Māori, TeUrikore Biddle and six kaihautū, Māori leaders, were welcomed onto Te Kōpu Mānia o Kirikiriroa Marae in Hamilton.
These appointments signal the next stage of the continued change programme at Wintec. Together they will lead Tōia Mai, a Wintec-wide initiative to drive equitable outcomes for disadvantaged learners, particularly Māori and Pasifika, and demonstrable Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnerships.
Biddle (Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Awa) says she has had the privilege of being raised in an environment where te reo and tikanga were normalised and this is reflected in her aspirations for better outcomes for all learners.
“I am challenged and grateful to continue to lead further change through our Tōia Mai excellence framework, building equity and lifting outcomes for our tauira Māori, Pasifika and all other learners. This is a long-term project and to achieve this, we will be casting our lens on Te Tiriti o Waitangi excellence and external engagement with iwi, hapū and Māori, while we focus on capability development and cultural competency, equity, partnership and Te Tiriti here at Wintec.”
Biddle says the appointment of the six Kaihautū is significant and evident of Wintec’s commitment to building a community where mātauranga Māori and learner success is at the centre.
Kaihautū is a reference to a leader. The Wintec Kaihautū include Waimihi Hotere, Jane Caffery, Kiri Waitai, Dion Ormsby, Te Wai Collins and Moko Tauariki.
“Our Kaihautū have connections to mana whenua, [local tribal groups] from across Wintec's catchment area. These leaders all bring dynamic and different strengths to our table, and along with Wintec’s Māori Achievement team will be pivotal in embedding mātauranga Māori values, knowledge, practice and delivering the Tōia Mai framework to impact on learner success and support genuine Te Tiriti partnerships,” says Biddle.
Wintec Chief Executive David Christiansen says the appointment of Biddle who joined Wintec a year ago as Director, Quality and Academic is an opportunity to progress and develop the mahi already started by Hera White who retired from the Pouārahi Māori role after 37 years in March this year.
“TeUrikore will continue to develop the path made by Hera White who has been a powerful and subtle figure in shaping Wintec into what it is today – and what it is set to become,” Christiansen says.
“We aspire to build our wider culture on a strong foundation that recognises, respects and honours the unique Te Tiriti partnerships that underpin Aotearoa New Zealand. Along with the wider education sector, we have a long way to go to truly realise this. Tōia Mai is our commitment to achieve equity for all learners.”
Christiansen adds that while Tōia Mai is grounded in a te ao Māori [Māori world view] framework, it will create sustained and meaningful change across Wintec for all.
“We are working to lift outcomes for all learners, build a place for all our staff, better meet the needs of iwi and deliver stronger benefits to our region.”
Ensuring education responds to the needs of Māori learners is a focus for Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. In November 2020, Te Pūkenga launched Te Pae Tawhiti, a Te Tiriti o Waitangi excellence framework. As a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga, Wintec’s Tōia Mai framework aligns closely with this.
“We are here for our learners, our communities, whānau, hapū and iwi, and we want them to succeed,” Christiansen says.
About TeUrikore Biddle
TeUrikore Biddle is of Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Awa descent. She has extensive experience in the tertiary sector, having held teaching and management roles at Victoria University of Wellington, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and Unitec. She is a recipient of the International Science and Technology Award (ISAT) and Fulbright Award. Recently the Chair of the Rangahau Māori Forum (ITP National Rangahau forum), she is also an active member of Te Tira Manukura (ITP Māori Leadership group).
Before joining Wintec, Biddle was the Quality Assurance Manager Māori at New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). She was appointed at Wintec as the Director – Quality and Academic in 2020.