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He Vaka Moana: embedding indigenous values, knowledge and culture in the university

Tuesday 2 July: Pre-conference parallel workshop, 9:30am – 12:30pm






Sonia Fonua
University of Auckland

Abigail McClutchie
University of Auckland


Presentation type

Pre-conference workshop



He Vaka Moana is a strength-based model framed by oceanic principles and methodologies – connecting us as Māori and Pasifika peoples to what sustains us – the ocean. In 2018 an interdisciplinary network of Fellows informed by a shared history of purposeful navigation of the Pacific Ocean, began working to navigate Māori and Pasifika students’ success. Our Fellows have constructed innovative pedagogical projects to advance students’ success, employing indigenous ways of being and the traditional oceanic practice of pikipiki hama to share knowledge and strengthen relationships, whilst ensuring significant, positive and enduring changes occur institutionally. In this workshop, we will provide an overview of the He Vaka Moana model, showcase the work of two of our research Fellows, Abigail McClutchie and Sonia Fonua, and finally, demonstrate how we can work together across an institution to purposefully develop teaching and learning strategies and encourage educators to self-reflective on their positioning and practice in ways that can significantly advance the success of our Māori & Pasifika learners.

The workshop itself will explore Abi and Sonia’s CLEAR Fellowship projects which have focused on enabling university educators to identify ways to embed or influence their teaching and learning with Māori and/or Pasifika values, culture and knowledge and reflect on their positioning and pedagogy in a safe and sustainable way. In this workshop they will share examples of how providing space for cultural identification, empowers students to reclaim and (re)present their Indigenous Knowledge and themselves. During this interactive session, there will be opportunities to work in small groups, to reflect on our prior knowledge and to consider how to create similar teaching and learning opportunities (ako) in our own courses and ways to pikipiki hama within and across faculties. These conversations will be modelled on the formats we have been employing and exploring through He Vaka Moana, which encourage educators to learn from each through deliberate conversations in purposefully created spaces that explicitly focus on shifting the educator rather than changing students.

Themes: social justice, changing academic practice and work and identity, people and place


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