Papa te whatitiri, raparapa te uira
Kapakapa tū ana te rangi e iri iho nei
Nukuhia a nuku
Nukuhia a rangi
Kia wātea mai a Taihoronukurangi
Kia tirohia atu te uru o Tangaroa
E tū mai nei hikihiki rangi
Ki te tauihu rape nui o Tāne
Heke nuku mai ngā iwi, heke rangi mai ngā iwi, huihuia mai ngā iwi. Mauriora ki a tātou ngā iwi nui tonu.
E ngā matāwaka o te motu haere mai ki ahau, ki te Whare Wānanga o Waikato, te pito herenga tāngata nō ngā hau e whā. Ki ngā mana, ki ngā reo, ki ngā manu kai mātauranga o te motu, hakapiri mai ki tō kura kāinga, e tatari nei i a koe. Hakatata mai ki te ara mātauranga, hei tikitiki mō tō mātenga. Kei ngā tauira o te tau rua mano rua ngāhuru, nau mai, haere mai!
Kāti ake, nā wai tēnei reo o mihi?
E kai o mata ki tēnei taniwha nō Te Puna i te Ao Mārama i hakahuatia mai rā anō e Kupe. Arā, ko Hokianga moana, Hokianga whenua, Hokianga tangata.
Nā ngā wai o Waikato ēnei wai o Hokianga e waiora ai. Atu i te ngākau hakaiti, tēnei ka mihi ki te mana whenua me te mana moana o tēnei whare wānanga.
Aloha, ni hao, hola, kia orana, mālō e lelei, as-salāmu ʿalaykum, tēnā koutou katoa, warm greetings and welcome to Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato, the University of Waikato.
The hundreds of you bring with you different stories of education. School leavers, mature students, returning students or those of you who may have taken a few years off. Some first generation tertiary students, some following a legacy of intergenerational study. Whatever your story is, I praise each of you for making the University of Waikato your choice of institution. Welcome to the Waikato whānau!
UOW is well-known for its Māoritanga. The land we are upon is Waikato-Tainui land, and we have a King, Kiingi Tuuheitia. Our Māori student population makes up approximately 25% of the whole student population, the highest of any University across Aotearoa. The University also boasts strong Pacific and International populations. Together with our domestic students; this is Waikato.
My role here at the University as President of WSU is to make sure you are represented, always at the table and always have a voice. The WSU as an operation exists to make sure your overall experience at our University is the best you could get. A 2019 Constitution amendment meant in 2020, the WSU board of directors consists of two new positions, a Pacific director and a director representing students at our Tauranga campus. Both recognising our inherent connectedness and student-centred mana enhancement.
As for me, a Tiriti-lead partnership protecting the mana motuhake of tangata whenua will always be at the forefront. And Tiriti-based participation of all races to ensure Tiriti principles are upheld on a daily basis. These are essential constituents of what a journey through te whare waananga o Waikato should look like.
Some advice for all of our new students (and for life in general!):
As you journey through University, remember that everything exists delicately in balance. Good energy and bad energy; feasting and starvation; head in the books and head in the clouds.
As you journey through University, think about the intergenerational impact you’re making for those who have gone before you and those who will come after.
As you journey through University, you will find at some point basic needs and security will compromise your education. Whether that be food security, housing security, health security and if you’re a student parent – child care security.
As you journey through University, the colour of your skin and the markings on them, the languages you speak and your sexual orientation should not dictate you having a barrier-free education.
As you journey through University, look after Papatūānuku Mother Earth, Ranginui Sky Father and their children who continue to withstand our human footprint.
As you journey through University, consciously think about if your actions positively contribute to racial equity, or if rather, they’re perpetuating racial inequity.
As you journey through University, remember that your level of service is more impressive than your level of success.
As you journey through University, remember everyday is a good day to be Indigenous.
And if you’re not Indigenous, everyday is a good day to be an ally!
All in all, welcome to Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato, where opportunities are boundless so long as you take them. Mā Puhimoanaariki hei mau i a koutou!