Access, outcomes and opportunity for Māori students and for Pasifika students: an enhancement theme approach

Enhancement-led quality assurance is part of the external academic quality framework for New Zealand universities. The universities have drawn on Scottish experience and introduced an enhancement-theme into their sixth cycle of academic audit. The enhancement theme is “Access, outcomes and opportunity: for Māori, recognising Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the bicultural foundation of Aotearoa; and for Pasifika, recognising the place of Aotearoa in the Pacific”. This is a topic that is strategically important for each university and of national significance. The enhancement theme is overseen by an ‘Enhancement Theme Steering Group’ which has membership from all universities, Te Kāhui Amokura, senior Pasifika members of universities, and students. In this panel session members of the Enhancement Theme Steering Group will discuss motivations for the enhancement theme, objectives, how the theme is progressing within universities, and how universities will learn from and assess progress on the theme.


Dr Joe Te Rito

Dr Joe Te Rito is Deputy Director for Ako Aotearoa which promotes tertiary level teaching excellence; after 11 years at Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga which promotes Māori research excellence. Joe’s a Māori language revitalist having taught across the board including radio. He is chair of Radio Kahungunu and is from the Hawke’s Bay tribes.

Panel Members

Giselle Byrnes

Professor Giselle Byrnes is Assistant Vice-Chancellor Research, Academic and Enterprise at Massey University where she provides strategic leadership across the areas of teaching and learning, research and commercialization. Leading the development and implementation of strategies, policies and standards that underpin the delivery of quality research and teaching across the institution, she is responsible for the core services supporting learning and teaching, research and researcher development and advancing the University’s commercialization agenda and growing the enterprise portfolio.

Giselle is an internationally recognised historian, with senior management experience in universities in Australia and in New Zealand. Prior to joining Massey University in early 2016, she led a broad portfolio at Charles Darwin University. Giselle has a commitment to advancing access to higher education and is a strong advocate of the critical role played by modern universities in creating social, cultural and intellectual capital for public benefit and economic wellbeing.

Ali Leota

Ali Leota is the National Pasifika Liaison for the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations where he is currently working on building a National body for Pasifika tertiary students. He also provides the perspectives of the Pasifika student voice to the Enhancement Theme, and is studying Health Policy at Victoria University of Wellington.

Robyn Longhurst

Robyn Longhurst was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning in 2014 and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic in 2015. As a Professor of Geography she has served as a Commission Chair for the International Geographical Union and Editor-in-Chief for the journal Gender, Place and Culture. In 2010 Robyn was presented with the Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Award. In the same year she received a University of Waikato Teaching Excellence Award and in 2013 a University of Waikato Research Postgraduate Supervision Excellence Award.

Parekura Pewhairangi

Parekura Pewhairangi is a lecturer in Te Ara Poutama, the Faculty of Ma-ori Indigenous Development, Auckland University of Technology. He is actively involved in student politics, from his time as the co-president of the AUT Ma-ori Student Association – T-Itahi Ki Tua, and his current position as co-president of Te Mana A-konga – the National Ma-ori Student Body.

Darryn Russell

He Pahihi ahau o te riu o te waka Araiteuru,
Ko taku whare kura, a Tamataea,
Ko tōku kao whenua, ko Horopapera, ki Te Rauone tae atu ki Pipikaretu.

Darryn is the Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori at the University of Canterbury (UC), a role commenced in 2011 and leads the strategy and implementation of Māori development across institutional curriculum, student and research outcomes relevant to Māori. His background is in strategic community and business development. Darryn has held a variety of directorships with Ministerial, government, non-government and philanthropic organisations.
Darryn is currently a Tribunal Member of the Social Workers’ Registration Board Disciplinary Tribunal , a Director on Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation and just finished time as Chair of Aviva in Christchurch. Darryn holds a Post Graduate Diploma, Master of Indigenous Studies and PhD in Politics from University of Otago and most proudly a father of two teenage boys.

Tasileta Teevale

Tasileta Teevale has worked as an academic and within the tertiary education public sector. After graduating with a Bachelor of Physical Education degree from Otago University, Tasileta lectured in Exercise Science at UCOL, Palmerston North, completed a Masters in Business Studies from Massey University and then entered the public sector as a National and Regional Advisor for the Tertiary Education Commission. Tasileta has also worked at Manukau City Council’s Strategic Development Unit. Tasileta completed a public health doctoral degree (PhD) at the University of Auckland and is an active public health researcher with focus on Pacific family and adolescent health.