A team of the ‘Taiwan-Aotearoa Connection’ project, organized by the Center for International Indigenous Affairs (CIIA), National Dong Hwa University (NDHU, TAIWAN), visited New Zealand from Oct. 27-Nov. 7, 2017. This project is commissioned by the Ministry of Education under President Tsai’s ‘New South-Bound’ policy to promote and deepen partnership between higher education institutes between Taiwan and New Zealand. Members of this team include faculty members, postdoctoral fellow, staff and PhD students of the College of Indigenous Studies (CIS).
Dr. Jim Mather, CEO of TWoA, speaking at the meeting with Executive staff
On Oct. 30, the team was greeted with a powerful pōwhriri（traditional Maori welcoming ritual）at the head office of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa（TWoA）in Te Awamutu. Dr. Jim Mather, CEO of TWoA and his executive staff met with the team and agreed upon drafting a MoU as first step towards collaboration. Dr. Mather states that this partnership is very much in line with Te Pae Tawhiti, TWoA's strategic plan to 2017, which aims to provide world -class indigenous education experience. The team also sat down in a robust discussion with staff members of the Programmes and Delivery team led by Pakake Winiata where ideas of specific items of collaboration were exchanged. Throughout this trip, the team visited 3 TWoA campuses（Apakura, Mangere, Mangakoōtukutuku）to observed first-hand the education experience that TWoA delivers.
The team was warmly received by a beautiful pōwhiri on Oct. 31 when they visited Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi（TWWoA）in Whakatane. A promising meeting with Professor Te Kani Kingi, Acting Deputy CE and Executive Director of Research, Associate Professor Nathan Mathews, Head of the School of Indigenous Graduate Studies among other faculty and staff members provided an opportunity for sharing common experiences and discussion for potential items of collaboration.
Hongi betwen Professor Te Kani Kingi, Acting Deputy CE and Executive Director of Research of TWWoA and Mr Sifo Lakaw.（Photo credit TWWoA）
On Nov. 1 the team visited the Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Studies at University of Waikato in Hamilton. Among the many faculty, staff and students that met with the group were Professor Brendan Hokowhitu, Dean, and Professor Linda Smith. The meeting was a productive exchange of common aspirations and practices. With the facilitation of the International Office, a Letter of Intent will mark a first step towards a fruitful alliance.
The team visited the Auckland University of Technology（AUT）on Nov. 3. Professor Pare Keiha, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean, guided the team through an informative campus tour. A meeting with local tribal leader, faculty, staff members, and students allowed a reciprocal in-depth understanding of both sides. Professor Linda Nikora, Co-Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga（New Zealand's Māori Centre of Research Excellence）was also present and contributed to the discussion. A conversation on detailed items of collaboration will continue to ensure practical implications of this meaningful exchange.
With the concrete outcome of this visit to New Zealand, CIIA looks forward to building and deepening productive partnerships. As a positive step forward, CIIA will host a workshop on Indigenous Higher Education in December, inviting senior academics and staff members from New Zealand to Taiwan to further the exciting discussion on education between Indigenous Peoples of Taiwan and Māori of New Zealand.