Ngāti Pōrou elders were among more than 100 staff, students and alumni of Waikato University to march in a hikoi at the university today.
Ngāti Pōrou sent elders to support Indigenous Education Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith, who has tribal connections to the iwi.
The marchers were protesting racism at the university and calling on the institution to fix the issues first raised by six university academics, including Tuhiwai Smith, who told the Ministry of Education about their concerns.
They said the racism included tokenism, Māori expertise being ignored, Maori staff denied promotions or project funding, lower pay for Māori staff and no meaningful commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi.
The Ngāti Pōrou were welcomed on to Te Kohinga Mārama Marae by Waikato Tainui before the hikoi.
The university has declined to comment while an independent review of the claims is being made by Sir Wira Gardiner and Hekia Parata. The review will look into the university’s progress in meeting Treaty of Waitangi obligations, programmes to support Māori students, attract and retain Māori staff, integrate mātauranga Māori into its academic programmes and promote Te Ao Māori in the life of the University.
Recommendations for improvements in policy and practice will be part of the review.