Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design is committed to honouring the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and to developing tikanga and kaupapa Māori in the College. Whitecliffe is working to ensure that Māori students and staff are appropriately and fully supported and that a kaupapa Māori framework is explored for use throughout the organisation and used to guide policy, procedures and curriculum where matauranga Māori is included.
Two key initiatives in this regard have been implemented recently.
Whitecliffe is seeking a relationship with Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei directly and through staff and family networks. In the past few months the eldest son in the Whitecliffe family, Hayden Whitecliffe (Ngāti Pikiao, Te Arawa) has been working with whanau member Te Rangi Kaihoro (Te Arawa, Tūwharetoa, Manu Neho –Ngāpuhi), the President Michèle Whitecliffe and Academic Registrar Jacquie Phipps on establishing a formal relationship with the Iwi. The group met with Iwi representatives on the marae last month to discuss the possible nature of the relationship and to plan the first steps.
On 12 May, a group of 20 Senior Staff and Faculty members accompanied by representatives of Ngāti Whatua o Orakei made a visit to Hoani Waititi Marae in Glen Eden, Waitakere with a full Pōwhiri and participation in a hui.
Also, Whitecliffe has appointed a Māori Cultural Support Coordinator (Pae Ārahi) to assist staff and students. Lea Te Huia-Eastwood (Tūwharetoa, Maniapoto) is an experienced counselor and educator. As a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Arts Therapy (Clinical) programme, Lea is also part of Whitecliffe’s alumni whānau. Lea and her whānau and fellow students participated in the 2016 Graduation ceremony and Lea led Whitecliffe staff in the Mihi Whakatau for the 2017 BFA Year One in February. Lea has begun work with student support staff and has met with some of the Māori students.
The establishment of the Pae Ārahi role grew out of an initiative within the Arts Therapy Department, Ngā Toiora Manawhenua Aotearoa - a model for indigenous arts therapy in New Zealand developed by Lea and fellow research students Anita Vlasic and Tania Lepper in 2016. A kaupapa Māori framework that could be applied more broadly across Whitecliffe is currently being proposed and it will be part of the Pae Ārahi’s role to further assist Whitecliffe to develop and implement this.
image: l-r Te Rangi Kaihoro, Michèle Whitecliffe, Lea Te-Huia Eastwood, Hayden Whitecliffe