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Keep Te Roopu Awhina!

This petition had 1,022 supporters


As of 21 December 2015 the role of Deputy Dean (Equity) of the SEAD faculties will be replaced by a 2-year fixed term contract.

Te Rōpū Āwhina has been growing since 1999 as a mentoring whānau, supporting Māori and Pasifika students in (SEAD) Science, Engineering, Architecture and Design areas.


Āwhina is kaupapa-based so also provides support for students of other cultural backgrounds, as well as outreach to local low decile high schools.


Two peer-reviewed publications show Āwhina’s unique approach to be hugely successful in reducing ethnic disparity in university success –
a success unmatched by university service-based programs and acclaimed worldwide. Such success is rare and it is crucial that Āwhina be given the security of a long-term future.

This change from a permanent Deputy Dean (Equity) role to a 2-year fixed term contract will not benefit Te Roopu Awhina whanau because the future uncertainty afforded by this 2-year fixed term contract is unclear. 

We would like assurances that the role will be renewed after the 2 years.

We feel this change is inadequate and will disrupt the work of Te Roopu Awhina, which Ms Richardson has built through her 16 years at VUW.

The (VC) Grant Guilford has proposed that the contracts are changing to bring them in line with university-wide changes.
We believe that Āwhina is a special case and deserves a special exception. Both VUW’s  Equity and Diversity Policy and the Ministry of Education’s Tertiary Education Initiatives specifically highlight equity for Māori and Pasifika students as key objectives. Āwhina is one of very few initiatives that has been proven successful at doing this.

It is clear from the evidence of the last 16 years that Te Roopu Awhina not only has been beneficial for Maori and Pasifika students, but all students of different cultural backgrounds who believe in the kaupapa of this whanau initiative.  

Awhina has proven time and time again that it is a success and that VUW benefits greatly from the achievements of Te Roopu Awhina but not only from current students but from future students and the wider community through the Awhina Outreach programme. 

We as Students both past and present have a right to be heard on this issue.

We have to make sure the current structure in Te Roopu Awhina is secure for the next generation so the success and momentum is secure in the future. 

We want the Deputy Dean (Equity) role to remain as a permanent contract after December 2015 and that the other two permanent Awhina staff positions remain as is.

What we need is a coherent and logical succession plan not an uncertain future after a 2 year contract.

Sign this petition to let (VC) Prof Grant Guilford know that what we want is a substantial future for Te Roopu Awhina.



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