UW Tacoma signed a unique partnership starting in autumn of next year with Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi — a university in New Zealand. This partnership will be for Pacific Northwest Tribal members who are working in their tribe and want to obtain a Ph.D..
UW Tacoma will foster a home for these students to complete the Ph.D. program online and through the help of the Awanuiarangi professors. The students will use UW Tacoma as a home base, and the specifics of this are still being decided. They professors from New Zealand will travel to UW Tacoma each year for one on one engagement with the students in the program. The programs offered will be a Doctorate of Māori Development and Advancement or a Doctorate of Indigenous Development and Advancement. The program consists of a thesis with individual research.
The university was started by the aboriginal Māori people of New Zealand. It aims to continue their traditions and focus on the needs of the Māori.
The mission statement of the university explains that their goal is to “empower the descendants of Awanuiārangi and all Māori to claim and develop their cultural heritage and to broaden and enhance their knowledge base so as to be able to face with confidence and dignity the challenges of the future.”
The partnership is designed to give these international students a home during their academic pursuit and for UW Tacoma to be the agent in the Pacific Northwest to sponsor the next cohort of students.
Chancellor Mark Pagano explained, “While I initiated the wider discussion on campus and led the delegation that visited their campus, Dean Anne Bartlett from SAIS has been serving as the early lead on the project.”
In March of this year, Chancellor Pagano and Dean Anne Bartlett and visited the campus of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in New Zealand to see its potential compatibility with UW Tacoma first hand. When they visited, Chancellor Pegano noticed many similarities between UW Tacoma and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.
The campus itself is located in Whakatane, which is the primary campus for the school. There are two other satellite campuses — just like UW.
The university in Whakatane is located on the Bay of Plenty, which is, according to Chancellor Pagano, “much like Commencement Bay, so it felt comfortable.”
Coincidentally, both Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and UW Tacoma are located on Commerce Street as well.
“[It] reminds me of here, but on the other side of the world,” said Pagano.
These natural connections made the partnership a good fit. Dignitaries from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi will be coming to Tacoma this summer to recruit students.
“The goal is to help them establish a home base for their cohort of Northwest Indian Tribal students studying in the Indigenous Studies Ph.D. program,” Chancellor Pagano said. “With the fundamental similarities in both of our institutional missions, we felt that UW Tacoma would be a natural partner in the U.S., especially in light of our key location, centrally positioned in the Pacific Northwest with great access to travel.”
This partnership could open up doors for faculty and students at UW Tacoma. Possible opportunities for students to study abroad or even a faculty exchange in New Zealand could come out of this connection as well.