Sir Mark Solomon
University of Otago and Ngai Tahu leaders spoke yesterday
of the relationship between the tertiary provider and the iwi
resulting in a Maori education renaissance.
The iwi and tertiary institution re-signed the Memorandum of
Understanding, which acknowledged the relationship between
both parties, at a ceremony in the university council
A signatory of the memorandum, Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere Sir
Mark Solomon, said the memorandum, which was first signed in
2001, was a ''big thing for us''.
''It is one thing Ngai Tahu has struggled with for a long
time was a good working relationship with all the tertiary
institutions, and we have set up a joint venture to
facilitate the entry of Maori into tertiary [education] and,
in my view, it has been very successfully, particularly [at
However, this success did not come without criticism.
Sir Mark said he went to see a surgeon three years ago for a
knee operation and was told it was ''absolutely disgusting
that Maori get into medical school and pass with less than a
''I said 'I am not going to argue with you today, because you
are operating on me tomorrow, but I will come back and make
you eat your words'.
''I went back and said 'do you seriously believe a university
like Otago would graduate people if they hadn't passed their
Sir Mark said there was no doubt relationships such as that
between Otago and Ngai Tahu had helped to create a ''Maori
education renaissance'' and this could only benefit New
More than 100 people who attended the signing yesterday heard
of some of those recent success stories, which included
research, scholarship opportunities, and enhanced
relationships with local runanga.
University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne said
the memorandum was a ''living document and aspiration between
the university and Ngai Tahu''.
University figures showed the number of research projects in
association with Maori, the number of Maori as a percentage
of total domestic students, pass rates for first-year Maori
students, and Maori students completing qualifications had
all increased markedly between 2008 and 2012.