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Source: Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology is continuing to work towards strengthening iwi relationships and cultural integrity, with the establishment of a new role – Executive Director, Tiriti Parnerships. 

The newly created directorship was formed to signal the Institute’s ongoing commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi excellence within and for Toi Ohomai.

Huia Haeata (Te Rarawa, Rangitane, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Ngāi Tahu) took up this position in February and has hit the ground running.

Huia joins Toi Ohomai from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, where she was the Executive Officer – Strategy and Organisation Success. At Toi Ohomai she will pick up the responsibility of maintaining and enhancing the mana ōrite tiriti relationship with Te Kāhui Mātauranga, supporting the development and implementation of Te Pae Tawhiti – Te Pūkenga Tiriti Excellence Framework, as well as providing strategic guidance for kaupapa Māori initiatives and cultural integrity within the organisation.

The role carries a lot of weight, and the enormity of that is not lost on Huia. 

“The role has many threads to it but essentially is about supporting Toi Ohomai – governance, management and operations – to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and achieve equitable outcomes for Māori by ensuring that our services work well and respond to the needs of Māori learners and their whānau, and to the aspirations of iwi and Māori communities. 

“In this regard, a key focus of the role is ensuring that we acknowledge the rangatiratanga of iwi/Māori to be actively engaged and participating in decision-making about achieving outcomes.”   

Managing relationships isn’t new to Huia, her professional life for the past 20+ years has included roles in academic learning support, business performance analysis and strategic advice, corporate reporting and communications, and relationship management. 

“A consistent theme across these various roles has been a passion for supporting people to transform their own lives through education, recognising the wider benefits for the well-being and prosperity of their whānau, hapū, iwi and communities.” 

Success in this role, Huia says, is building the organisation’s capability to maintain and enhance tiriti relationships and achieve equitable outcomes for Māori learners, she says this can be achieved by working in collaboration and partnership with iwi and Māori communities, Te Pūkenga network and others. 

“Ultimately, I want to see more Māori achieving and enjoying success as Māori, securing quality employment for the betterment of themselves and their whānau, and contributing to the well-being and prosperity of our region – this is my picture of success. How we get there will require all of us to play our part.”

A key focus for Toi Ohomai is its commitment to biculturalism and Māori success, and this is something everyone has a role to play, says Huia. 

“As a starting point, I would encourage staff to reflect on their own cultural context – beliefs, perspectives, and practices; ask questions and do some research (there are lots of great resources online), and embrace the opportunities on offer at Toi Ohomai to grow cultural awareness and understanding – deepening our connections to our respective communities.” 

Taking up this position at Toi Ohomai has been somewhat of a homecoming for Huia, who worked at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic from 2011 to 2014. 

“There is a feeling of familiarity but also a sense of newness and opportunity for learning from having a much broader range of programmes on offer to communities across the Bay of Plenty and beyond. 

“Despite the scale of change that has and will continue to impact Toi Ohomai in the next few years, I feel that the organisation is well-positioned to deliver the skills, knowledge and attributes valued by industries, employers and the communities we serve.”