Education and Training Amendment Bill hailed as a positive change for wānanga
The Bill passed its third reading on 16 August, with its passing concluded by a chorus of voices celebrating with waiata and haka from the gallery.
Those voices belonged to representatives of the three wānanga who had travelled to Wellington for the purpose of seeing the Wānanga Enabling Framework they had worked so hard on, be passed through parliament.
The Bill creates a new framework for the wānanga sector that gives them options to operate in a way to better meet the aspirations of their founding iwi, communities and ākonga.
To mark the occasion, Hon Minister Davis hosted the wānanga representatives in the Grand Hall of Parliament at the conclusion of the third reading. This provided the Minister, representatives from each wānanga and our own Andy Jackson to share their thoughts on the Wānanga Enabling Framework’s inclusion in the Education and Training Act, the process of its development and what the framework means to them.
In his third reading speech, Hon Minister Davis acknowledged the work of Ministry officials and noted '… they're so excited because we are achieving this against the odds. And we did it together. The officials and the wānanga working together. Kāwanatanga. Rangatiratanga. Working together and the magic has happened!'
Alongside the pride and excitement of what this Bill might mean for current and future tauira and their whānau, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa chief executive Nepia Winiata also touched on the relationship between officials and wānanga, noting that this Bill reflected a new approach. “It’s no secret that we’ve had challenges with the Crown and different ministries over the years, but this particular journey has been incredibly collaborative, and I’m really impressed and want to thank the ministry officials and their teams for the work that they’ve done," he said.
Professor Wiremu Doherty, Chief Executive of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi says this framework supports rangatiratanga of wānanga. “Previously, legislation has constrained the capacity of wānanga to express their tino rangatiratanga. This creates a new framework that is fit for purpose and recognises our unique role best," he noted.
On this theme, Te Wānanga o Raukawa Chief Executive Mereana Selby also noted the importance of this change for their iwi, saying, “The responsibility has been given to our own respective tribes of Te Wānanga o Raukawa, for them to determine, to foster and to care for our institute".
Hautū of Te Pou Kaupapahere, Andy Jackson, closed out the speeches commenting on the process to get to this point and thanking our wānanga colleagues for their willingness to work with the Crown, especially in light of the history of our relationship which has been mixed, and see the wānanga-Crown relationship transformed to a point where we enjoy great trust.
All were excited about what this means for the future of wānanga and while it was noted that there is further work needed to create a better future, this was celebrated as a positive step in the right direction.
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