The Dame Charmian O'Connor Faculty of Science - Leading creativity and innovation in the sciences

School of Psychology

Creative ways to support Māori and Pacific students today

Students studying in the Tuakana room in Psychology Department
Students in the Tuākana room

The Tuākana programme has been running in the School of Psychology since 2002, and has grown into a team now consisting of two coordinators, one Stage I Revision Tutor, four Stage I mentors, one Stage II mentor, one Stage 3 mentor, and the Māori and Pacific Psychology Research Group Coordinator (MPPRG).

A key part of the programme is supporting students as they progress through their study. Mentors stay in weekly email contact with their teina, and provide regular one on one support for those needing help with assignments, exam preparation and lab reports. Working with the rest of the team, they also provide support in other ways including:

  • Organising regular panel sessions where undergraduate students can hear from current postgraduate students about postgraduate study,
  • Drop in sessions for students applying for summer internships and scholarships to get advice and help with their application
  • Support for undergraduate students who need to attend disciplinary meetings within the Faculty
  • Assistance for undergraduate students wishing to submit an application to postgraduate study

The School of Psychology also has dedicated spaces set up for Tuākana students to utilize, including two rooms with computer access and free printing (as well as kitchen essentials), and two small libraries that hold key text books for both undergraduate and postgraduate level courses. These spaces provide a safe space for Māori and Pacific Island students to study in, and access to key resources that ensure they can sucessfully engage in their courses.

As social relationships are an important aspect of the Tuākana programme, the School of Psychology also hosts a “Welcome kai” each semester which introduces students to mentors and key academic staff, and an “End of Semester kai” to celebrate the successful completion of a semester for our ‘teina’, and to thank the key staff involved in the programme. There is also a quiz night each semester with Tuākana branded items as prizes – which has proven to be a very popular event.

On top of the academic and mentoring services the team provide, there is also a Māori and Pacific Psychology Research Group that meets twice a semester. This group provides students/teina with the opportunity to present their research and get feedback from the group. Past students are often invited as keynote speakers, and at times these events double as a celebration for newly awarded PhDs.

Meet our people - past and present

  • Pikihuia Pomare

    Pikihuia graduated with a BA in Psychology and Māori Studies, an BA(Hons) in Psychology, and with a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology in 2015.

Key contacts

Programme Coordinators:

Hineatua Parkinson

Sonia Pope

Further information

For further information about the Tuākana programme in the School of Psychology, please visit their website.