Maori roles being replaced at unis -- report

  • 16/03/2016
Maori roles being replaced at unis -- report

Maori roles at universities are being replaced by general ones as schools try to cut costs, the Tertiary Education Union says.

The union's report into the process called "whitestreaming" has found the practice is now widespread at all eight of the country's universities, 13 of the 18 polytechnics and even one wananga.

Whitestreaming is the replacement of Maori roles and services with generalised ones, such as swapping Maori support officers for general support officers.

A survey of about 250 union member staff found 41 percent said whitestreaming was happening in their workplace and nearly 20 percent had their focus changed from solely Maori to all students.

The study found whitestreaming happened most often when costs were being cut or when Maori staff resigned and weren't replaced.

Academic staff with permanent, full-time contracts were the hardest hit, making up 82 percent of those affected, the study's authors said.

"The negative impacts on Maori staff have included a loss of collegiality, increased workload, decreased job satisfaction, with nearly half wanting to leave their job and work elsewhere," they said.

TEU national president Sandra Grey has called for the government to restore equity funding to bring back the roles.

"No further Maori jobs should be cut. No further Maori students should lose their support services," she said.

Of those who had experienced the shift, 93.33 percent said it had happened since 2008 when changes to funding processes were made.

TEU's Maori vice-president James Houkamau said the report showed a lack of commitment to Maori students.

"Our institutions have failed to invest in their Maori students and they're neglecting their duties under Te Tiriti o Waitangi," he said.

The report will officially be launched in Gisborne on Saturday.