Category Archives: Māori


In exciting news, this October UC was proud to sign as a partner of the new South Island women’s rugby team, Matatū.

This new partnership enables internships for students and new research into women’s performance and elite sport. Nearly a quarter of the players contracted so far for Matatū (the team name gifted by Ngāi Tūāhuriri) are UC-educated wāhine, and we are proud to help support these elite women pave the way for future generations. Matatū will compete in the Super Rugby Aupiki competition taking place over four weekends in March 2022.

The name Matatū will be proudly carried forward by the team when they compete in the inaugural competition next season. The University of Canterbury is committed to gender equity and social inclusion, and we are proud to support South Island wāhine competing under the Super Rugby banner. 

Read all about the partnership here.

Join the Māori Language Moment 2021, 14 September 12pm

Tēnā koutou e ngā ringa raupā o te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha. 

The Māori Language Moment last year was a huge success.  Maybe you were one of the 1 million participants who registered and took time out of the day to celebrate te reo Māori?

This year we want to encourage you all to participate in the Māori Language Moment during Te Wiki o te Reo next week. 

All you need to do is register your participation at perhaps organise a coffee and kōrero with someone, share your mihi, sing a waiata, or, listen to a te reo podcast.   

Looking for inspiration on what you could do?  Visit to find loads of ideas to practice the skills of whakarongo, kōrero, ako, tākaro, pānui and waiata.

“Our Māori Language Moment is about gathering as a nation to say we value our indigenous language. We also mark the moment the (Māori Language) petition was presented to parliament in 1972. This is about coming together to reflect on our past, acknowledge where we are now and prepare for our shared future,” said Māori Language Commissioner, Professor Rāwinia Higgins.

At UC, we value tiakitanga, enhancing and nurturing our resources, and te reo Māori is a not only a resource, but a taonga that we are committed to protecting and developing.

Nō reira e hoa mā, kia kaha te reo. This is an opportunity for us all to use, celebrate and value te reo Māori.  Whakawahā te riri! Get amongst it!  

Join the Māori Language Moment 2021: 12pm |14 September 2021

We’ve updated our Te Wiki o Te Reo | Māori Language Week activities for Alert Level 2. Please keep an eye on our social media at UC Māori, Te Akatoki and UCSA.

See the Te Wiki o te Reo timetable here

Equity Review Findings and Next Steps

Tēnā koe,

In October and November 2020 SLT endorsed Te Waka Pākākano | the Office of the AVC Māori, Pasifika and Equity to conduct research to inform a complete Equity Review. The aim of the review was to examine equity, diversity and inclusiveness in the University of Canterbury (UC) context, with a Tiriti o Waitangi-centred and intersectional approach.

We wish to acknowledge and sincerely thank all who participated in the review, particularly those who shared their lived experiences.

The report has now been presented to Council and shared with participants. The results (summarised below) identify the importance of breadth of focus across the University.


The Equity Review draws attention to the challenges the University faces in defining equity, diversity and inclusiveness and in delivering commitments into meaningful outcomes for underserved[1] communities. These communities include, but are not limited to Māori, Pacific, Rainbow, people with long-term disabilities (physical and mental health-related), people of faith, migrants, people of refugee background and women.

Qualitative research data was collected to inform the review through semi-structured interviews with targeted groups of students and staff. This was supplemented with an anonymous online questionnaire, which was distributed to gather broader UC student and staff input. Approximately 700 responses were received online and in excess of 80 in-person interviews as part of this process.

Findings highlight confusion about the meaning of equity in the UC context and it is clear that the implementation of the Equity and Diversity Plan, policy and aspirations were not met in full, as a result of this lack of clarity. Many research participants reported experiencing various forms of discrimination in the University. Others talked about the ongoing reproduction of structures of privilege. Many participants from non-marginalised groups denied or were unaware of the reality of marginalisation for others, and voiced concerns that acknowledging diversity could cause a reduction of teaching and learning standards or even threaten the value of the dominant culture.

It is encouraging that despite the significant challenges identified in the feedback, students and staff recognised the valuable equity work already under way across the University. This included the development and implementation of UC Values, Takere Māori and Pacific Academy and the Kia Angitu Student Success Framework. These developments demonstrate UC’s commitment to providing equitable access for Māori, Pacific, first in family, those from low-decile schools, and students with disabilities as they enter tertiary education.

In particular, focus on a strengths-based approach and research-based evidence drive action to meet UC’s aspirations for equity. It was also clear in participants’ feedback that research without committed leadership and an improved organisational culture would not lead to meaningful change.

[1] The term ‘underserved’ is used in the review report to refer to individuals, groups and communities that experience discrimination and exclusion (social, political and economic) because of unequal power relationships across economic, political, social and cultural dimensions.

What’s our response?

In response to the Equity Review findings, an Equity Response Plan is being developed to determine how UC will achieve positive change. The approach will be phased, prioritising short, medium, and long-term strategies and tactics. The Equity Response Plan will be finalised and circulated later in 2021.

This is a step in our journey to creating an equitable community, and we are committed to continuing to engage in conversations that facilitate this. Over the next month there are workshops and open sessions scheduled for line managers, leaders, and all staff. These will be led by Tumu Whakarae | Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey. Information on registering for these workshops will be shared via Tū ki te tahi (staff newsletter).

The workshops will provide opportunities for you to identify where you can respond to the review and take action within the context of your department, as well as providing feedback that will contribute towards the Equity Response Plan. We also welcome your feedback and ideas on the response to the review via email to

There are actions we can take even as we establish a meaningful implementation response. The first step is to define a shared understanding of equity, which is pivotal in achieving meaningful outcomes to this work. While the workshops and response planning phase take place, we will also refine and confirm a definition that is concise and specific to UC’s aspirations for equity, diversity, and inclusiveness.

As a UC staff member, what can I do now?

There are numerous resources already available which we encourage you to use in support of your personal journey to building awareness and understanding of equity:

  • UC’s Organisational Values were developed at the time the review process was undertaken. They have been endorsed by UC’s Senior Leadership Team and Council, and will be integrated and recognised as part of the proposed Equity Response Plan – bookmark this page and get to know the values!
    • Whanaungatanga: we value people and their differences
    • Manaakitanga: we extend care and empower others
    • Tiakitanga: we will enhance and nurture our resources
  • Sign up to a Learning and Development course to further develop your understanding. Find the landing page with a full list here.
    Here are some great courses to look out for:

    • Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: From Theory to Practice
    • Pasifika Talanoa Development Day
    • Rainbow Awareness Workshop
    • Tangata Tū, Tangata Ora
    • Te Reo Māori for the Workplace

Nāhaku noa, nā
Dr Darryn Russell and the Equity Reference Group


Seeking support

At Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | the University of Canterbury, everyone has the right to be treated in a respectful and equitable way and we support anyone in our community to speak out against behaviours that don’t support this. Please talk with your manager if you require any support. The HR Advisory team can provide support to managers as needed.

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)  provides UC staff access to voluntary, confidential, safe and professional counselling assistance. Click here for more information on this service.

If you identify a student who requires support, here are resources and support services for them:

There are also additional resources and support services in the community:

  • Need To Talk: 1737 (free text or phone)
    • Lifeline: 0800 543 354


Tupuānuku opening | New student accomodation building

It was a delight to celebrate the opening of the new student accommodation building on Thursday 10 June. It was an opportunity to learn more about Tupuānuku’s story, the kaupapa behind the model of student care, and the building’s design. 

The event closed with a stunning performance by Te Akatoki and kai [food] designed around theme of food from the earth.

Attendees at the official opening event included Tupuānuku partners architects Jasmax, construction company Southbase, engineers Powell Fenwick, project managers Proform Group, quantity surveyors RLB and furniture suppliers Bishop Interiors Ltd.