Te Wānanga o Raukawa seeks independence from the Crown

By James Perry

Tikanga Maori tertiary education provider Te Wānanga o Raukawa wants to change the law to better reflect the way it operates and works with iwi.

As a Crown entity, many of its functions require government permission and It has been working with the Ministry of Education to look at changes to the legislative settings that govern wānanga Māori.

It was established in 1981 as a way for Raukawa, Te Āti Awa and Ngāti Toa Rangatira to educate their uri independently of mainstream tertiary institutes. Te Wānanga o Raukawa chief executive Mereana Selby says it was needed to ensure the survival of their reo, identity and knowledge.

"Ko te tino mahi kua mahia e Te Wānanga o Raukawa i roto i ngā tau ko te whakahoki mai i te mana, i te rangatiratanga ki te iwi Māori, otirā ki ngā iwi e toru, kia Te Ātiawa, kia Ngāti Raukawa kia Ngāti Toa Rangatira, kia whakatau me pēhea te anga whakamua mō āna uri i roto i te mātauranga." (What Te Wānanga o Raukawa has done over the years is brought back the mana and rangatiratanga to Māori and the three tribes, so we can dictate our own pathways forward in education.)

Forty years later, the Ōtaki-based wānanga wants independence from the Crown and shared decision-making, and says this will be a model for other wānanga. 


If TWOR is successful, will other wānanga follow suit?

Wānanga framework

It has proposed the establishment of a wānanga sector framework within the Education and Training Act that will describe characteristics common to all three wānanga, Te Wānanga o Raukawa, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi but will allow each wānanga to create its own Order in Council provisions.

Under its independent council, Raukawa would reconstitute itself as an independent statutory entity, remove Crown-appointed members from the council and replace them with iwi representatives. It would also see the wānanga make its own decisions to invest, borrow and dispose of assets. Te Wānanga o Raukawa at present must seek permission from the Crown.

It follows a 2017 Treaty claim by Te Wānanga o Raukawa seeking independence from the Crown. It has been in talks with the government since then to find solutions, including changing the law. Discussions include future funding.

"Mō te whā, rima marama pea kua mahi tahi mātou ngā wānanga e toru me te karauna kia hanga ture hou ka hāngai kia mātou. Ko te tikanga ka noho tērā ture hei hāmarara mō ngā wānanga e toru ka whai wāhi ko ia wānanga ki ōna ake hiahia."
(So for four or five months the three wānanga have met with the Crown to create a new law that's relevant to us. That new law will govern the three wānanga but each wānanga, will insert their own inspirations into that.)

Submissions on the proposal have opened and will close on October 28.

The Ministry of Education has been asked for comment on the proposal.