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It’s been a very busy start to the new tertiary semester at NorthTec, with Orientation Week running straight into a week of events celebrating Matariki and Maori Language Week.
Orientation Week (20-24 July) saw around 1,100 new students finding their place at NorthTec’s campuses around the region, being formally welcomed with pōwhiri and taking part in campus tours throughout the week.
On the Tuesday, students at the Raumanga campus headed to the whare kai to enjoy a free lunch of smoked corn fritters, with music provided by popular local soul singer Ben Ratima.
Wednesday was market day, with local community organisations coming to campus to provide information about their services, while students enjoyed a social night on Thursday at the Butter Factory in Whangārei.
NorthTec partnered with E Tu Whānau for Matariki, with each activity being aligned to one of E Tū Whānau’s values. The week began with the Primary Schools’ Kapa Haka Day, with three local schools performing at the NorthTec marae.
On Tuesday environmental activist Rueben Taipari and his wife, Heeni Shortland, spoke about their journey in establishing environmentally sustainable housing in the Far North, and about how they are implementing Māori customary practices of the Maramataka (Māori calendar) into the lives of their whānau.
Wednesday was an opportunity for the RAID Movement to talk about how everyone can support suicide prevention in our communities. This was followed by a Māori language trivial pursuits evening, with seven teams battling for the ultimate prize of being crowned the NorthTec Matariki Po Wero Hinengaro champions.
On Thursday NorthTec hosted a series of speakers with stories of change and transformation. World Champion Unicyclist Christian Huriwai, from Te Hau Ora o Kaikohe, was followed by Rob Akahuta, Relationship Manager for E Tu Whānau. Johnny Seve, Whānau Facilitator for Ngāti Hau Health and Social Services, shared his experiences working with whānau affected by whānau violence, and his own journey. The final speakers were MPs Winston Peters and Kelvin Davis, who shared their journeys growing up in Northland and their work within New Zealand politics.
Thursday also saw two evening events take place, with the NorthTec Waka Ama launching from Onerahi after being postponed from Tuesday due to poor weather, and a special E Tu Whānau Matariki buffet rounding off the week.
Huhana Lyndon, NorthTec’s Director, Learner Support, said the start of the new semester had been very successful. Orientation Week activities were enjoyed by the many new students starting on their learning journey, while Matariki Week events had all attracted a good crowd. She said: “Matariki is a time for celebrating whānau, remembering the past and looking forward to the future. It’s also about connecting with our communities and working together to bring out our strengths.”
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