K Dee Ma'ia'i

Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

Institutional racism, inequitable outcomes and culturally inept pedagogy are rife in New Zealand’s tertiary education system. Through my involvement in the Tuākana programme at the university, I have seen how culturally-informed mentorship can not only help forge connections within Maori and Pacific cohorts, but also support academic excellence and mental wellbeing. Increased representation and inclusion of Māori and Pacific value systems, methodological frameworks and people requires determined and collective leadership and is pivotal if we are to see real change. Educational equity is where I want to make my leadership contribution throughout the university. This is of course reflective of wider global political systems that undermine and exclude Māori and Pacific kaupapa. My long term leadership goal is therefore to ensure the centrality of Pacific self determination in so-called ‘post’-colonial development.  

Sponsor: McCall MacBain Foundation

Mentor: Pauline Winter QSO, former Pacific Business Person of the Year and CEO of the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs