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Wintec Pacific strategy draws on cultural knowledge to inspire learners

A Cook Island family stand together smiling at the camera.

Wintec’s newly released Pacific strategy places emphasis on growing Pacific capability at Wintec and recognises Pacific culture and traditions as integral to the study journey.

A year on from the appointment of two Pacific Leads, Wintec has released its Pacific strategy, identifying key priorities to enhance the experience and growth of Pacific learners at the tertiary institution.

The key strategic priorities include building and strengthening the Pacific Pipeline, growing the presence of Pacific staff and students at Wintec, as well as strengthening ties to the Pacific communities and increasing stakeholder partnerships.

“The Pacific Pipeline encompasses a student’s transition coming into Wintec, the journey while they are here, and when they exit and stay connected,” says Wintec Strategic Lead – Pacific, Rose Marsters.

The strategy also places emphasis on inspiring communities through projects in the Pacific region, leading the way in Pacific research and building Pacific leadership and governance at Wintec.

“The Wintec Pacific Strategy provides the pathway to milestones that lead to equitable outcomes for our Pacific learners,” says Marsters.

This is in alignment with Te Pūkenga’s recent Te Rito report that highlights what Pacific learners need to succeed in tertiary education.

The strategy’s initiatives also sit alongside Wintec’s Tōia Mai Excellence Framework. Tōia Mai is grounded in te ao Māori and mātauranga Māori to create sustained and meaningful change across Wintec for all tauira (learners) and kaimahi (staff). It aims to drive equitable outcomes for all learners at Wintec, with an emphasis on tauira Māori, and all disadvantaged learners including Pacific and disabled learners.

The Pacific Strategy is supported by Tapasā, a cultural competencies framework available for staff at educational organisations, devised by the Ministry of Education. It provides insight into the Pacific worldview and how to best support Pacific learners.

“Tapasā is the first of many steps to walk alongside Pacific learners, their families and community,” says Marsters.

To serve and support the rollout of the strategy Melisa Fotu has been appointed as Kaiārahi Pacific, and Ted Pogai, Pacific Learning Advisor, will work alongside Marsters.  

In the new year, two new Kaiārahi Pacific roles have been appointed for 2022. The roles will have specific portfolios to cover including community and partnership, learner success and capability development, and transition pathways and research.

In addition, a Pacific staff reference group called ‘Wansolwara’ (a Solomon Islands word meaning ‘One Salt Water’, a reference to being united through the connection of the Pacific Ocean) has been formed to advise the trio.

Wansolwara consists of staff who identify as being Pacific at Wintec from various organisational areas and disciplines who will assist with developing Wintec’s approach to the Tapasā framework through workshops and research.

The group will also support, through advice and consultation, all the initiatives involved in the Pacific Strategy as well as adding Pacific voices to the Tōia Mai Excellence Framework.

As Wintec and Te Pūkenga emphasise tauira-centred learning, a Pacific student group has also been formed called Lumitugetha (Solomon Islands word meaning ‘you and me together’). The group is made up of 12 students who represent different Pacific nations and are in a variety of different programmes across Wintec.

Lumitugetha gives a voice to Wintec’s Pacific students cohort, ensuring the Wintec Pacific strategy is learner-centred and adapts to student needs.

Pacific achievement is a priority in the Government’s Tertiary Education Strategy, and all tertiary education providers are encouraged to support achievement for this group, along with Māori learners.

“Our shared vision to meet the success and achievement needs of our Pacific learners will result in the wellbeing and sustainability of our Pacific communities,” says Marsters.

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