Dealing with white supremacy concerns at Auckland university

11:04 am on 13 April 2019

The University of Auckland's Māori student association says it wants to work alongside the university to address concerns of growing white supremacy on its campus.

Auckland, New Zealand - March 1, 2017: Sign and logo of University of Auckland set near modern dark gray offices in green park like environment. Gray sky.

A group University of Auckland students say they're afraid of an increasing presence of a white supremacist movement on campus. Photo: Claudine van Massenhove

The call comes after a group of students said they were so afraid of an increasing presence of a white supremacist movement on campus they were considering dropping out.

The students said the disturbing and distressing behaviour had been going on for years, but had ramped up since the Christchurch terror attacks - including threats and offensive graffiti on campus.

Ngā Tauira Māori said there had been a growing concern within the student body about the increase in divisive rhetoric.

"As Ngā Tauira Māori, we strongly oppose any form of discrimination within the University of Auckland and the wider community. White supremacy or any other form of racism has no place here."

They say they will work alongside the university in order to address the issue and to develop greater measures around preventing hate speech on campus.

Te Mana Ākonga is the Māori Tertiary Students' Association of Aotearoa.

Tumuaki Mamaeroa Merito, of Te Arawa, is also part of Ngā Tauira Māori at Auckland University, said they will work to awhi all tauira to ensure they feel safe and supported.

"We want to foster environments and spaces on campus filled with manaakitanga that are open not only to Māori but to all students. Our focus in this instance is going to be on spreading aroha and to awhi our students in this instance and not feeding too much into this negativity that has come from this kōrero and dialogue."

She said this was an opportunity for all universities and institutions to sit down and listen to tauira.

"I think if our voices are being heard, solutions are being made and there's action, then we can work together as a collective to solidify that white supremacy has no place within our universities but also within our society as a whole. So I see this also as an opportunity for growth and providing a safer environment for tauira."

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