Weeks ago when Nexus approached me to write about the Māori Student Space for Nexus Designs a Campus, I couldn’t imagine weeks later that we’d be reporting that we’ve actually secured dedicated space for tauira Māori in the vacant ANZ building at the Village Green! Maybe if the example of Māori Student Space is anything to go by, we might see the Nexus builds conceptualised in this magazine materialised on campus in the future.
So instead of drumming up a Māori Student Space concept, we’ll have a go at encapsulating the idea of the space, the furnishings and all its potential in anticipation of the big move into the ANZ. Which reminds me, it needs a new name! For this piece, we’ll call it ‘Taurikura’.
For around a decade now Māori students, staff and supporters have made a plea to the University for our own dedicated space. It’s happening so here is what it could look like:
You walk into Taurikura, full of tauira Māori diligently going about their study, speaking te reo Māori, singing waiata Māori, Khaysharn telling off a particular few for being too noisy and disruptive. You see, we’re not angelic people who uniformly wear black and sing and haka at every pōwhiri. We’re students too. We have an appetite for education at a tertiary level and we apply mainstream support to our Māori foundations. Taurikura isn’t an attempt to separate tauira Māori from the rest of the University community. Taurikura seeks to transform and enhance tauira Māori experiences by dedicating a space where we can be, none other, than Māori.
You take a look around Taurikura – there is an office for the Vice-President Māori of the Waikato Students’ Union where they sit humbly amongst their constituents. That’s some top notch level leadership right there, if you’re able to sit with them when they’re happy with you and even when they’re mad at you. But it’s all about the journey and letting everyone come along for the ride.
You continue around the building to the rooms off the main area. A quiet or group study area come hui room when it needs to be. The other room has some small bench space and a sink. If you’re after something more substantial then you head over to the SUB to heat up your kai or scab whatever other kai is going.
Coming back to the centre of Taurikura, there’s a wall of computers, tables and chairs filling the floorspace, sofas around the outskirts, a massive whiteboard on the wall with a schedule of kaupapa for the week.
You see the vision is simple. And there is the potential to build from that too. That’s the beauty in not wanting for much. Cos when you’re presented with a greater opportunity, you will give it the greatest respect. This is what Taurikura is for tauira Māori past, present and future, staff and supporters.