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Maori academic achievement celebrated at graduation event

Approximately 400 students will graduate with a diploma, 70 with a degree and 30 with a postgraduate (masters) qualification on 13 December.


A bumper celebration of Maori academic success is promised for Otaki this weekend with Te Wananga o Raukawa celebrating its 2014 graduation event this Saturday.

Coined Te Ra Whakapumau, the annual event will see the conferral of certificates, diplomas, degrees and postgraduate qualifications upon approximately 530 graduands.

Total attendance at the event is expected to swell to around 1500 as graduands’ friends and family travel to Otaki to join the celebrations which will this year be held at the institution’s award winning Maori lifestyle advancement complex Nga Purapura.

Te Wananga o Raukawa Tumuaki Mereana Selby says a highlight of Te Ra Whakapumau is the number of whanau who travel from all over the country to be there to support their loved ones on graduation day.

“Some of our graduands will travel from as far away as Kaikohe for graduation and despite the long distance; they will still arrive with a healthy contingent of whanau to share in their big day.

There will be lots of haka, lots of waiata and lots of proud smiles as the qualifications are conferred upon our graduands in front of their friends and whanau.”

Ms Selby says staff and students from the wananga Whare Toi faculty have been busy crafting over 500 taonga that will be gifted to graduating students.

“Every student who graduates with a diploma, degree or masters qualification will receive a hand carved taonga in recognition of their achievement.

The taonga is a gift presented by the confederation of the three founding iwi; Atiawa, Raukawa, and Toa Rangatira.

These taonga acknowledge the achievement of the student, the commitment of their iwi, and TWoR as their choice for tertiary education.”

“Ponga are given at diploma level, patu at degree level and a taiaha at postgraduate level.

Not only do you receive a tohu but you also receive a Maori taonga to commemorate and celebrate your success.”

The event will also feature performances by Te Matatini 2015 Regional Finalists Te Kapa o Te Matapihi and Nga Uri o Tamarau, who both have a strong connection to Te Wananga o Raukawa through participation in the institution’s Whare Tapere literary performing arts programme.

Te Ra Whakapumau 2014 event will be held this Saturday 13 December at the Te Wananga o Raukawa Otaki campus from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Key Facts & Background Information: Te Ra Whakapumau 2014

Te Wananga o Raukawa (TWOR) is a kaupapa Maori tertiary education provider based in Otaki, Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Hailed at the time as the ‘smallest university in the world’ Te Wananga o Raukawa was established by the Raukawa Marae Trustees in 1981 with only two students.

530 TWOR students will graduate in Otaki this Saturday at the institution’s annual Te Ra Whakapumau graduation event.

A total of 1200 students will graduate from TWOR in 2014 with many having their qualifications conferred upon them at smaller ceremonies held at TWOR satellite campuses stationed throughout New Zealand.

Te Matatini 2015 Regional Finalists Te Kapa o Te Matapihi and Nga Uri o Tamarau will perform at the graduation.

Both groups were intakes of the 2014 TWOR Whare Tapere (Literary Performing Arts) programme.

Of those students graduating in 2014, approximately 400 students will graduate with a diploma, 70 with a degree and 30 with a postgraduate (masters) qualification.

Eight students will graduate with a Tahuhu Whakaakoranga (Master of Education) qualification.

In a tradition unique to TWOR, all graduates who attain a qualification at diploma, degree or postgraduate level will receive a hand carved taonga (ponga, patu and taiaha respectively) as a graduation keepsake and acknowledgement of their achievement.

Up to 1500 people are expected to attend the event, many coming from outside of the Otaki region.

The event will culminate in a hakari (celebratory feast) for all in attendance.

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