June 10, 2021
Staff say university word grab not tika
Auckland University of Technology academics are slating their institution’s use of the words “tika”, “pono” and “aroha” in its statement of values.
Associate Professor Georgina Stewart, the co-author of a new paper on Māori values at the university, says AUT would like its adoption of those words to be seen as evidence of cultural competence and embrace of te reo and tikanga Māori.
But she says some Māori staff are uneasy with the way the university is treating ancient indigenous ethical values which are integral to Māori culture.
To translate pono as respect, tika as integrity and aroha as compassion falls far short of the full Māori meanings.
The paper says pono is closest to the truth. Tika is a central principle of ethical behaviour towards other people and the world. Aroha is a supreme power and the essence of humanity.
These values are not separate concepts but are closely intertwined aspects of traditional Māori understandings of the nature of reality, of the human, and of right action in the world, underpinned by other key Māori concepts such as mana and tapu.
The authors suggest an educational rāhui to be placed on how people at AUT think about and use the words – to signal the learning that is needed.
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