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Practical support for Māori students crucial


groceries-2020

Student shopping with a Te Rau Tauawhi voucher


The COVID-19 lockdown has revealed how heavily some students rely on campus resources to effectively study with some having no devices at all and others little more than their mobile phones.

The Te Rau Tauawhi, Māori Student Support team have been focused on ensuring students have what they need to study online for the rest of semester. Team manager, Eugene Hepi says the ability to provide 32 tauira with devices and internet resources was critical to ensure they could continue with their studies and while one request for a sewing machine proved beyond ITS resources, thankfully the design student was eventually able to source one.

Mr Hepi says it was important to offer practical help to tauira as quickly as possible and that included grocery vouchers for those struggling for the very basics of food.  For one solo parent student, the voucher meant a very welcome break from the constant worry of feeding her family. The Te Rau Tauawhi team also did its best to support Tauira who faced the added burden of grieving in lockdown after deaths in their whānau.  

Mr Hepi says budgets have been redirected to help support students at home but many are still under pressure from the COVID-19 crisis.  “While it is hard to know how many may drop out of their programmes, it’s important all parts of the University work together to identify students at risk and wrap the right support around them.”  He says Te Rau Tauawhi will be working with a worrying number of students who have outstanding fees from Semester One and may not be aware the impact this debt might have on future study opportunities.

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