There is an extensive network of Kaiāwhina Māori – support staff – working in many of the Departments across the University. Kaiāwhina are integral to providing assistance to students within a department – they are the ‘guides’ for students in negotiating their course of study, as well as helping to answer their general questions. As well as the Kaiāwhina -who work in a voluntary capacity - there are also appointed positions in Divisions for Academic Deans Māori or senior Kaiāwhina whose job it is to lead and initiate developments relevant to Māori aspirations within the University. ADMs will have a close working relationship with Kaiāwhina.
Kaiāwhina may provide information about departmental policies, procedures and practices to students who approach them. Kaiāwhina may also, from time to time, assist other staff with their general queries or support the Department in its implementation of the Māori Strategic Framework. Depending on individuals’ experience or expertise, some queries may be simple to answer, but most others will be referred to the ADMs or staff in other parts of the University (Māori Centre, Office of Māori Development, Postgraduate Māori Adviser, and so on).
In recognition of the important role that Kaiāwhina have, a Professional Development training programme has been established. The training workshops provide an opportunity for networking, and for sharing experience and expertise. Kaiāwhina may also refresh their kete of resources, and establish a referral contact list for people who have expertise in certain areas, such as counselling, recruitment, strategic projects, mediation, and academic development.
There are a lot of resources and referral information on this Māori ki Otāgo website. Following is a summary of some key contact information that may assist Kaiāwhina in their work - Kaiāwhina may want to print this as a resource document for keeping on their desk.