Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology last night celebrated the official launch of Our Sacred Māori Voices, a book about six ākonga Māori (Māori learners') journeys that it is hoped might inspire other ākonga to forge a path in higher education.
The authors come from a variety of backgrounds, with diverse early life experiences and a range of locations across Aotearoa New Zealand. Their unique narratives reflect the distinct and dynamic lives of growing up and being Māori.
The book showcases the early-years experiences of six Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga Capable NZ undergraduate learners: Tracy Te Wake, Keri Ropiha, Bobbi-Jo Clark-Heu, Kera Baker, Kim Gotlieb, and Scout River Barbour-Evans. It is edited by Otago Polytechnic Associate Professors Kelli Te Maihāroa and Adrian Woodhouse.
Our Sacred Māori Voices was first published in late 2022 by Otago Polytechnic Press, part of Te Pūkenga Publishing Group.
The official launch of the book was a hybrid event. Held at Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga Hub on Wednesday 26 April, it also featured several online speakers, including Te Pūkenga Chief Executive Peter Winder.
Present at the launch, Te Pūkenga Pourangi Mātauranga me ngā Pūnaha Ako | DCE Academic Centre and Learning Systems Megan Gibbons said although the creation of Te Pūkenga Publishing Group was in its early stages, it showed the organisation’s commitment to elevating and enabling academic freedom.
“Te Pūkenga divisions across the motu, including Otago Polytechnic, already publish and share research in a range of formats and for various audiences. With the establishment of Te Pūkenga we now have the opportunity to establish an umbrella publishing house which can unify and strengthen the publication process across Te Pūkenga network,” Dr Gibbons said.
“In regards Our Sacred Māori Voices, the six learners all have very different stories but, collectively, they affirm the need for the focus Te Pūkenga has on ensuring that Māori learners succeed.”
Scott Klenner, Director: Research and Postgraduate Studies, Otago Polytechnic, commended the editors as well as the six authors “for telling their stories” and allowing others to learn off the people, places and experiences that shaped them.
“This book contributes to the wider field of indigenous autoethnography by presenting and validating the subjective experiences of these ākonga Māori and, creates a resource that can help forge a path for other Māori in higher education,” Mr Klenner said.
Associate Professors Woodhouse and Te Maihāroa: “Our Sacred Māori Voices celebrates the richness of diverse Māori voices, thereby contributing to a growing awareness and understanding of Māori lived realities, through the lens of different histories and seeds of hope for the next generations.
“Having insight into diverse cultural backgrounds and the rich tapestry of experiences that learners and whānau bring with them, helps build cultural understanding, competencies and empathy between people, both within the place of work and place of learning.”