September 21, 2020
Academics fight university as coloniser
The organiser of last Friday’s protest at Waikato University supporting academics who have spoken up against institutional racism says the university is making itself unsafe for Māori students.
Tina Ngata from Ngāti Porou says academics like Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith, whose contracts are not being renewed, have carved out a space for Māori to study and research as Māori.
She says Māori should be able to go to university without having to fight being colonised and assimilated.
"If you go into a space like that and it hasn't been decolonised and your people are not in there, and they are not able to exist in there as Māori as well – if the only way you are able to exist in the academy is as a non-Māori – then what you are going to be producing is people who are assimilated, is people who do not feel safe to speak out, to speak up their taha Māori, is people and who will repress themselves and repress others around them," Ms Ngata says.
She says universities are places where policies are shaped, so introducing Māori knowledge to the process is critical for the future of Aotearoa.
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