Pita Sharples to Talk to Maori Youth

24 August 2009

Dr Pita Sharples, co-leader of the Maori party, will meet and talk to senior secondary school students at a three day leadership forum – Tu Mai Rakatahi – at Living Springs on Banks Peninsula this week.

Over eighty Maori students from throughout Canterbury have registered to participate in the tenth annual Tu Mai Rakatahi hui organised by Te Tapuae o Rehua, a not-for-profit company owned by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, CPIT, Canterbury University, Lincoln University, Otago University and Otago Polytechnic. The hui will run for three days from Wednesday August 26 until Friday August 28.

Students will participate in activities which focus on motivation, planning, decision making, learning styles and study pathways, all within the Maori cultural context of the hui.

Successful young Maori graduates will participate as role models and facilitators with the aim of promoting education and particularly tertiary education to the senior school students. Many of these graduates have attended past Tu Mai Rakatahi hui themselves.

John Tait, CEO of Te Tapuae o Rehua, says Dr Sharples will provide inspiration and motivation. “Dr Sharples has had an impressive career in education, including several professorships, and a lifetime of involvement in a wide range of community, cultural and educational organisations. We are honoured that he is has found time in his busy schedule to attend.”

Mr Tait says Tu Mai Rakatahi has become something of an icon in building educational aspirations in Maori youth.

“The return of past attendees as leaders and guest speakers provides tangible proof to today’s participants that tertiary education is both achieveable and has benefits for them as well as wider benefits for whanau, iwi and society in general,” he says. “It also shows that gaining an education while holding on to one’s Maori identity is possible.”

The aim of Te Tapuae o Rehua is to increase the number of Maori studying at tertiary level, gaining post graduate degrees and participating in research.