Te Pūkenga kaiako among top tertiary teachers


Te Pūkenga kaiako among top tertiary teachers

Mahuru 6, 2023 | 4 min read

Te Pūkenga congratulates teaching kaimahi (staff) who have been named as recipients of Te Whatu Kairangi – Aotearoa Tertiary Educator Awards this year.

The winners are:

  • Le Moana Mua Award – Genevieve Togiaso, Ara Institute of Canterbury | Te Pūkenga
  • General Group Category Winner: Progressing Education Partnerships and Collaboration - Ara Institute of Canterbury | Te Pūkenga group led by Dr Grant Bennett
  • General Category Winner: Advancing Approaches to, and the outcomes of, work-based learning – Craig Goodhue, Unitec | Te Pūkenga


The awards recognise sustained excellence in tertiary teaching and the difference this makes for ākonga (learners), their whānau and communities.

“We acknowledge the success of our kaiako (teachers) who have displayed outstanding leadership in their fields,” says Te Pūkenga Pourangi Mātauranga me ngā Pūnaha Ako  | Deputy Chief Executive – Academic Centre and Learning Systems, Dr Megan Gibbons.

“The two individuals and the group awarded embody different aspects of what we are pursuing as Te Pūkenga; from being inspiring in the workshop to empowering learners from diverse backgrounds and partnering with industry to develop skills for a sector,” says Dr Gibbons. 

Harnessing the power of reflective teaching methods, ‘lived experience’ and cultural understanding to allow Pasifika learners confidence in the tertiary training environment has seen Head of Department for Health Practice at Ara, Genevieve Togiaso win Le Moana Mua Award.

“(A) powerful educator and leader of Pacific learners,” reads the citation.

The award criteria are based on the 10 Habits of Phenomenal Educators for Pacific Learners as identified in research by Dr Cherie Chu-Fuluifaga and Janice Ikiua-Pasi.

A group of kaimahi led by Dr Grant Bennett, also at Ara, has been named General Group winner in the Progressing Educational Partnerships and Collaboration category.

Their collaboration with Awanui Group, a leading nationwide provider of laboratory testing and pathology services, improved staff training, learner experience and increased recruitment of Māori and Pasifika kaimahi through improving training pathways for pre-analytical technicians in clinical settings.

New approaches introduced through the partnership saw learner satisfaction in the programme increase to 98% (from 72%).

“(After) working in the industry for 26 years. I cannot speak highly enough of the diploma and the team at Ara,” said one long serving Awanui employee.

“Exceptional teaching skills, dedication and a genuine passion in the field,” was the verdict of one ākonga on the support they had received.

The group from Ara also included Heather Compton, Alan Hoskin, Marion Hale, Derek Chirnside, Tracy Hutton, Elaine Rutherford and Clare Hutchinson.

“A jewel in the school’s crown, a committed academic professional, highly skilled tradesperson and empathic human being,” was the way the Head of School at Unitec Trades and Services described lecturer Craig Goodhue.

Mr Goodhue won the General Category for Advancing Approaches to, and the outcomes of, work-based learning.

He was recognised for his dedication to developing the next generation of leaders and business owners in plumbing and gas fitting through a mix of on-campus, on-the-job as well as peer-to-peer learning.

“You were the best teacher I have ever met. You were really professional and I felt your passion to teach,” says an ākonga in praise of Mr Goodhue’s enthusiasm and accessibility.

The lecturer was also commended for promoting lifelong learning and developing his student’s problem-solving skills.

“To receive recognition in Te Whatu Kairangi – Aotearoa Tertiary Educator Awards represents a pinnacle for excellence and innovative practice in supporting the success of learners,” says Te Pūkenga Tumuaki | Chief Executive Peter Winder.

“On behalf of the whole network, I congratulate the winners,” says Mr Winder.

Since 2007, Ako Aotearoa, an organisation committed to supporting tertiary educators enhance success for all the country’s learners, has been running the awards on behalf of the Education Minister.