He Vaka Moana is a strengths-based project framed by oceanic principles and methodologies that connect us as Māori and Pasifika to the ocean. The underpinning kaupapa and theoretical framework of He Vaka Moana is the Tongan proverb “pikipiki hama kae vaevae manava”, which refers to our individual vaka coming together to support each other as we navigate the moana.
As a Samoan educator, I have frequently heard the claim that Pasifika students need to learn how to learn to succeed at university. As part of the He Vaka Moana Fellowship in 2018, I sought to explore this claim by conducting talanoa with 24 Pasifika students who had taken a Pacific Studies course at the University of Auckland. The talanoa focused on their thoughts about learning and learning processes inside and outside the university. This study demonstrates that Pasifika students know how to learn and frequently reflect on their learning processes.
Leadership Through Learning is a 12-week (i.e., one-semester) programme for Māori and Pacific tertiary students run by Te Fale Pouāwhina, a Māori and Pacific student learning service at the University of Auckland in Aotearoa New Zealand. The programme is designed to help students lead, empower and transform through normalising their leadership and learning success. As a strategy, normalising success counters negative stereotypes, micro-aggressions, and the everyday colonialism and racism these students encounter.
Māori and Pacific students are not achieving in science in comparison with other ethnic groups in Aotearoa New Zealand. At the same time, evidence of engagement with their traditional ways of knowing and being in university science settings is limited. Most formal science curricula globally are founded on Western modern science, and this focus can contribute to the underachievement of Indigenous students in science, particularly if Indigenous knowledge is not included (Howlett et al., 2008).
This article is about a university course which decolonises the classroom by making culture count. It examines how the ethnic identity journeys of 13 Pacific students in a third-year course in Pacific Studies run by the University of Auckland define and derive meaning for a more secure ethnic identity as a strategy for success across teaching/learning and life courses.
The notion of “success” for Pasifika students in higher education remains contested given the socio-political agendas of education in New Zealand targeting Pasifika engagement. The motivation to increase academic achievement for Pasifika peoples stems from “tail-end” outcomes, in which Pasifika populations are compared with other demographic populations in the attainment of higher qualifications. Many institutional “success” strategies are initiated essentially from a deficit positioning, to respond to barriers of participation, and ensure academic progression and student completion.
Drawing on nautical notions of traversing the Pacific Ocean, we seek to encourage Māori and Pasifika researchers to come together in purposeful and transforming ways, not to further homogenise Oceanic identities but, as many sang in active resistance in Aotearoa New Zealand during the 1990s, Kia Kotahi ra Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa (“Unite as one like the Pacific Ocean”). We present Vā-kā as a methodology that emerged from a research fellowship focused on Māori and Pasifika student success at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
This article introduces He Vaka Moana, which has been tested and evaluated at international and local levels. He Vaka Moana is a strength-based model of academic fellowship that is framed by Oceanic principles and methodologies. The authors base this model on what connects and sustains us as Māori and Pasifika people—that is, Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa.
He Vaka Moana - Navigating Māori student and Pasifika student success in the tertiary sector introduces a compilation of eight articles that provide an invaluable contribution to our understanding of how we can improve teaching and learning in tertiary settings.
Koia ko te kaupapa o tēnei atikara e aropā nui nei ki ngā karakia tūturu i takina i roto i ngā rā whakamaumahara o Te Riri Pākehā, arā, e mōhiotia ana ko Te Pūtake o te Riri, tae atu hoki ki ngā karakia tawhito i oti i roto i ngā tau maha ki ngā wānanga mau rākau, ki ngā momo tohi me ngā tikanga o te ao Māori. Ko te tapu o ngā karakia tūturu o tēnei ao, he rerekē ki te tapu o ngā karakia o te ao tūāuiruri whāioio o ō tātou tūpuna (Wānanga Karakia Māori, 2000).