The Maori at University
There are approximately three thousand students attending Auckland University College, and of these fewer than twenty are Maori; that is, there are about one hundred and fifty Europeans to every Maori. The number of Maori students in the other University colleges is probably lower. Compare this proportion with that for the country as a whole (about ten Europeans to one Maori), and it becomes most apparent that the pakeha is well ahead of us in the matter of taking advantage of higher education. An increasingly large number of Maori students are attending the secondary schools, and a fair proportion pass through the fifth and sixth forms; the number entering the Training Colleges as prospective teachers has increased considerably over the last few years, but University seems to hold no attraction for the majority.
Lack of finance is probably one of the main reasons. Lack of information on the courses at University, and of the prospects open to the graduate may be another reason. These problems are receiving more and more attention, but doubtless the matter of finance could do with a lot more. Another important problem is the problem of adjustment to a new and strange environment. It might possibly be a deterring factor in some cases.
There are few Maoris who are completely free from the influences of their own social system. Though the Maori has adopted much of the European way of life his society still differs markedly from that of the pakeha. The disparity between the two makes it difficult for a Maori to adapt himself to European society and ‘become a European’ as some think he should.
Consequently, a young Maori considering a course of University study may be expected to feel some apprehension and anxiety at the prospect of having to adjust himself to a new and strange environment. He may have some difficulty in settling into University life. It is largely to deal with this problem that the Maori students of the Auckland University College have set up an Auckland University Maori Club. Fifteen of its members are Maori, four are students from the Islands, and some are Europeans. Among its objects are the following:
To publicise education among the Maori and Polynesian races with a view to encouraging post-secondary education.
To provide parents of prospective students with information regarding financial sources, such as Government Scholarships, University scholarships and grants, etc., and also to help students to find board in suitable and approved places.
To help new Maori students to enroll, and settle into University life.
To foster Maori culture.
To initiate panels and discussion groups on matters concerning Maori welfare and Maori life generally.
Its patron is R. Piddington, Professor of Anthropology. Its president is Miss Eileen Johnston, M.A., who is well known in both Maori and European circles. Chairman is Maori Marsden, son of the Rev. Hoani Matenga and Hana Toi, of Ngapuhi. He was educated at Wesley College, and spent some years studying at the Auckland Bible Training Institute. He is now studying for B.A.
Secretary is William Tawhai, son of Hiiri Tawhai and Ngamane Tawhai, of Omaio, Whanau Apanui. Educated at the Te Kaha High School he is now studying for B.A. Bill is a most competent haka leader.
Action-song leader is Miss Anapera Kaa, daughter of Tipi and Hohi Kaa, of Rangitukia, Tikitiki, of Ngati Porou. Miss Kaa is a graduate of the Wellington Teachers' Training College, and she is now studying for B.A.
These people played prominent parts in setting up the club. Others who may be mentioned are:
James Laughton, of Whakatane, son of the Rt. Rev. J. G. Laughton. A graduate of the Ardmore Training College, he is now studying for B.A.
Miss Taimihinga Taua, granddaughter of Tau Henare. She is also studying for B.A.
Ruawai Rakena, son of the Rev. Rakena, of Hawera. He travelled to India last year as representative of the Maori people at the International Conference of Churches. A gradu-
ate of Trinity Methodist Theological College, he is also studying for B.A.
Lane Tauroa, son of Rev. M. Tauroa, of Tuakau, completing a course at the Trinity Methodist Theological College this year, and simultaneously studying for B.A.
With a growing population, the Maori is in need of more leaders, especially those who have had the benefit of a higher education. The race is not lacking in intelligence. Who knows but your own child might be another Dr Buck or Apirana Ngata—he might even be an Einstein. The youth of the race must be given the chance to obtain the most valuable ‘taonga’ of the pakeha, namely the wisdom and knowledge to be gained through his highest institutions of learning. I feel that the parents of those Maori students now in University deserve special commendation for giving their boys and girls this opportunity. Doubtless the sacrifices they have made have not been primarily on their own behalf, but on that of the people. Among these students are the future leaders of the race.
Present population trends (other things being equal) provide reasonable ground for believing that the race will survice for a very long time to come. The disparity between our society and that of the pakeha will become even more marked if we lag too far behind him in education. To Waikato I must make a special appeal. We are a long way behind the others, and our need for leaders is especially great. Me tuku nga tamariki kia tae ki te hohonutanga o te matauranga.*
E ai ki te korero a te Pakeha ‘Ko te tohu matau o te tangata ko te maha o nga kupu e mohiotia ana e ia. Mehemea ka kore te tangata e matau ki tetehi kupu kia kotahi e kore rawa e taea e ia te whakaaro. Engari kei te mahanga atu o nga kupu e mohiotia ana e ia te hohonu atu ai te haerenga o ona whakaaro.’
Ara, mehemea ka mau i te tangata nga kupu me ki kia rua tekau mano he tangata matau tena. Ka nuku atu ana i te rua tekau ma rima mano i te toru tekau mano ranei he tangata matau rawa tena. Kei nga kura wananga o te Pakeha te Hohonutanga atu o nga korero.
*The following passage, being addressed to the Waikato tribe in particular, was written by the author in the Maori language.—Editor.