Youth Cultural Heritage Empowerment Program
About the project
This is a first of its kind project to be undertaken at the Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland.
We are privileged to be provided support from Ako Aotearoa to develop this program that will assist our Pacific students’ university learning. This project is aimed to provide support to our students who may find it difficult studying in a new tertiary environment.
The aim of the project is to empower Pacific students who are struggling with education, through the use of Pacific taonga/treasures to reignite their passion for learning.
Through the use of selected cultural treasures (taonga), we hope to empower these young people through interactive classroom sessions in order to make them confidently engage in education, increase self-worth while at the same time reigniting their passion for their culture and heritage..
The program methodology will be purely hands-on with applied and practical learning by our youth participants, using museum artefacts/treasures as cultural learning tools. One of the direct outcome of this program is the creation of a giant tapa (bark-cloth), which will be created by students themselves.
It is based on whanau learning where the family is a key part of the process, and is also culturally based where singing and dancing is a core component of their learning.
The expectation is that the programme will develop strong role models, and build strong relationships between Pacific students and their education providers and families.
The expected outcomes are as follows:
- reconnect our rich cultural past to the present - for a brighter future for all young people
- develop a cohort of young people, who can empower others, be positive role models, humble and proud of their ancestry
- change students’ behaviour ie respect to those in authority, improvement in time management and punctuality
- meaningful engagement and focus on learning
- improve class attendance
- increase self-esteem and confidence
- strong motivation to complete set tasks and assignments
The focus is to empower disadvantaged and marginalized Pacific students who are transitioning into tertiary education programs.
The students will appreciate the effective use of our Pacific treasures so as to inspire them, reduce negative behaviour and instil necessary positive behavioural changes.
Evidence from a similar programme in Australia (Thomas, 2014) shows that when young people are reminded of how rich their culture is, and how brave their ancestors were, it enhances cultural pride, improves attitude to learning and increases self-esteem.
The program will contribute to cultural research and making Pacific collections in museums more relevant.
A summary of the recurrent themes on what leads to improved outcomes for Pasifika learners in tertiary education, from research undertaken through Ako Aotearoa-funded projects between 2008 and 2013 is contained in a report prepared by Anne Alkema.
This report concludes that projects in the future need less of a focus on literature and more on trialling and tracking the results of approaches that have been found to work.
The team comprises of Team Leader, Tarisi Vunidilo, Betty Loto, Kali Vunidilo, Peni Faalogo and Tapa Maker Gade Gaunavou.
Betty and Kali are both experienced teachers who are bringing in their wealth of experience of working with young Pacific youths both at schools and in their own Samoan and Fijian communities respectively.
Peni is the current manager for Unibound, which is a specialised program developed to assist students adapt to University life.
Gade Gaunavou is an experienced Fijian tapa-maker who will work with students to create a giant tapa (Fijian masi) comprising of blocks of tapa made by each student.
Each of the tapa block has their own whanau story, which will be displayed at the Centre for Pacific Studies.
$9,600 has been allocated for this project from the Ako Aotearoa Regional Hub Project Fund (Northern Hub), to begin on December 01st 2016 and ends July 31st 2017.
These costs are for project staff time in delivering our program during the January-February 2017 Summer School at the University of Auckland.
Our project has been earmarked to take place during the 2017 Summer School beginning January 23.
The team-leader has met with each of the group members to discuss their roles within the project.
We will be meeting together as a group on the first week of November to map out how the 6-weeks of Summer School will pan out.
The remaining weeks will include report writing and assessing outcomes of the project.
The expectation is that the programme will develop strong role models, and build strong relationships between Pacific students’, academic staff and families. Our team also anticipate s strong link between the University of Auckland and Ako Aotearoa as far as professional development and future Pacific related educational research are concerned.
- Create a “Good Practice Guide” for Ako Aotearoa website
- Complete a comprehensive report of the findings for Ako Aotearoa website
- Dissemination: A presentation of early findings could be given at the Pacific Educators Forum or the APSTE conference.
|The report from this project is published under the Creative Commons 3.0 New Zealand Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence (BY-NC-SA). Under this licence you are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work as well as to remix, tweak, and build upon this work noncommercially, as long as you credit the author/s and license your new creations under the identical terms.|