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Bryant, B 2010, 'Just a small window to get some leverage : A critical examination of the rise of Te Wananga o Aotearoa with particular emphasis on the role of the State in the battle for control of this Maori tertiary educational institution', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright B Bryant 2010


The 17 July 1863 saw a British military force led by Major General Cameron, with Crimean War experience, invade the Waikato of Aotearoa New Zealand, and essentially ending for Waikato Maori on 2 April 1864 at Orakau when Cameron with 1,200 troops, defeated a group of 300 Maori that included representatives of at least nine iwi, and women and children, led by Rewi Maniapoto.

In December 1863, well before the events of Orakau, the New Zealand Settlements Act of 1863 (NZSA) was passed into law. This Act’s only purpose was to confiscate 1,408,400 hectares of land from Maori; 486,500 hectares from Waikato Maori, of whom Ngati Maniapoto are an important part. The Act deprived Maori of their traditional lands and the means to participate in the economy, with serious social and economic consequences for them well into the 20th century.

In 1993, tertiary educational status was granted to what was essentially an initiative of the people of Ngati Maniapoto that began in 1983 to provide educational alternatives to young people, predominately Maori. This initiative became Te Wananga o Aotearoa (TWOA). Over a period of six years from 1998, TWOA moved from being an insignificant tertiary educational institution to the largest in the country in terms of student and equivalent full time student numbers. By mid 2005, TWOA was under the control of the State, the first time such a situation had occurred in this country, and completely contrary to the independence provisions that the Education Act 1989 bestows on tertiary educational institutions.

This thesis is an examination of the State’s battle for control of TWOA, to consider likely reasons why the State sought this control, and the tactics used by the State to achieve this outcome.

The thesis examines the part that knowledge and access to education plays in global economics in the late 20th and early 21st century, and will consider whether knowledge and access to education was as economically important to individuals in these times, as land was in 1863.

The fact that TWOA’s success was achieved completely within the parameters of the tertiary education policies of both successive Governments since 1998 was irrelevant to the NZ Labour Party led Government of 2005. They appeared to set out on a predetermined path to gain control, in order to neutralise TWOA’s growth and to then reshape the sector to ensure that such success did not happen again. The conclusion is that what was seen as a just a small ‘window’ to get some leverage, was thrown open, and very powerful levers then used, to achieve this end.