Cultivating Maori student engagement with libraries

ALIA Library

Beckwith, Jacinta

Asia-Pacific Library and Information Conference 2018, 30 July - 2 August 2018 Gold Coast: Roar Leap Dare
This conference paper discusses strategies embraced to evoke connections and encourage conversations between University of Otago Māori students and taonga Māori in the Hocken Collections that can enrich students’ journeys towards achieving their goals and aspirations. 
Across the Hocken’s vast archival, published and pictorial collections rest diverse taonga Māori (Māori treasures), invaluable resources for Māori researchers, staff and students. Most of these pertain to Ngāi Tahu, our southernmost indigenous tribe, and to the South Island, but many relate to the varied iwi and hapū (tribes) from throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. Taonga of Pākehā European origins are treasured for the information they have in capturing the presence of tūpuna (ancestors) and mātauranga (knowledge) in reo (language) and pūrākau (narratives). Pūrākau in the collections are more than just stories, they encourage the remembering of whakapapa (genealogy) – of people to place to purpose. They can spark the intellect, ignite the thirst to learn and nourish the spirit.
The University of Otago Library plays an important role in ensuring support for Māori learners to grow and develop as Māori at university. In striving to support Māori learning and research, the Library too benefits by growing and developing its own potential as a bicultural organisation that can impact positively on Māori academic success. Māori students are drawn to the Hocken via many pathways; they are of diverse ages and experience, descend from diverse iwi and hapū and are engaged in a wide variety of university programmes and disciplines. Personal cultural journeys develop alongside academic journeys. For Māori, academic learning and research is part of a greater whole that involves tinana (body), hinengaro (mind), wairua (spirit) and whānau (family). All of these are equally important to nourish and empower in the pathway to success.


Deakin, ACT: Australian Library and Information Association
University of Otago
New Zealand